THE Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) has asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss a matter in which Honeybee Pharmacy Limited has sued it, seeking an order to forbid it from revoking its Phamaceutical Licence.
ZAMRA wants the said matter dismissed with costs, arguing that the action is an abuse of court process.
The authority has further agued that Honeybee Pharmacy Limited has no locus standi in relation to the Phamaceutical Licence as the same was not granted to “Honeybee Pharmacy Limited” but to “Honeybee Pharmacy”.
This is a matter in which Honeybee Pharmacy Limited has sued ZAMRA seeking an order to forbid the authority from revoking its license.
Honeybee Pharmacy Limited, which is being represented by Tutwa S Ngulube & Company, is seeking an order of interim injunction to restrain ZAMRA by itself, servants, agents or whomsoever from revoking its Pharmaceutical License and publishing any information on social media and other platforms calculated at injuring its reputation.
It also wants an order that the matter be referred to arbitration as per the provisions of the contract governing the relationship between Honeybee Pharmaceuticals Limited and the procuring entity, costs and any other reliefs the court may deem fit.
But ZAMRA now wants the action dismissed with costs.
This is according to its affidavit in support of summons to strike out the writ of summons and statement of claim filed on March 1, 2021.
ZAMRA’s acting Director Medines Control Nyambe Lyoko stated that he was advised by his counsel and verily believed that the writ of summons and statement of claim filed by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited disclosed no reasonable cause of action against ZAMRA.
He added that the action was an abuse of court process.
“I therefore humbly apply for an order that the same be struck out and that the action be dismissed forthwith with costs,” Lyoko stated.
And in the skeleton arguments, ZAMRA stated that Honeybee Pharmacy Limited commenced this matter after the authority issued a notice of intention to revoke a Pharmaceutical Licence issued to Honeybee Pharmacy (an entity registered pursuant to the Registration of Business Names Act, 2011) on January 28, 2021.
It argued that there were no facts disclosed in the statement of claim by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited upon which ZAMRA could be held liable.
ZAMRA added that although the said statement of claim raised allegations relating to defamation, there were no facts which have been specifically pleaded to that effect that could establish a cause of action.
“Honeybee Pharmacy Limited has not disclosed a factual situation upon which it can attach liability against ZAMRA, nor do those facts establish a right or entitlement to a judgement in its favour against ZAMRA,” it stated.
ZAMRA further stated that Honeybee Pharmacy Limited’s statement of claim also showed that ZAMRA was not party to the contract that Honeybee entered with the Ministry of Health.
It added that it follows therefore, that ZAMRA was not party to the arbitration clause.
“Thus, Honeybee Pharmacy Limited’s claim for an order that the matter be referred to arbitration should not be entertained as it is an abuse of court process. Honeybee Pharmacy Limited has no locus standi in relation to the Pharmaceutical Licence as the same was not granted to Honeybee Pharmacy Limited, thus its claim for an order for interim injuction to restrain ZAMRA from revoking the Phamaceutical Licence should not be entertained,” ZAMRA further stated.
“Honeybee Pharmacy Limited’s pleadings cannot be cured by an amendment, thus no injustice would be occassioned if the court dismissed the action as no reasonable cause of action has been disclosed. Therefore, we beseech this honourable court to strike out the proceedings herein.”
In its defence filed on February 12, 2021, ZAMRA had submitted that samples of medicines and allied substances which were supplied by Honeybee were analyzed according to recognised International standards and were found to be out of specification to the set criteria.
It also stated that it acted within its statutory mandate in all the actions it took in verifying the quality of medical products supplied by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited.
ZAMRA further submitted that Honeybee Pharmacy Limited was never granted any licence by ZAMRA, but that the authority only granted a licence to Honeybee Pharmacy, a sole trader, which was struck off and deregistered on April 1, 2020.
However, in its reply filed on February 18, 2021, Honeybee Pharmacy Limited argued that ZAMRA’s decision to state that Honeybee Pharmacy Limited does not have a license was an afterthought.
Honeybee Pharmacy Limited stated that the products contested by ZAMRA were tested by the said ZAMRA and Zambia Bureau of Standards and that an acceptance certificate was issued in favour of Honeybee Pharmacy Limited.
It further stated that the samples of the products it supplied were supposed to be analysed by laboratories accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations laid down procedures which none of the laboratories used by ZAMRA met aforemtioned criteria.
“The samples of the products supplied by Honeybee Phamarcy Limited were tested over a dozen times by a dozen laboratories accredited by WHO and each of them produced results in contradiction to ZAMRA’s results. ZAMRA did not abide by its statutory authority in its dealings with Honeybee Phamarcy Limited as the actions claimed by ZAMRA have been committed by 70 others companies that had a similar contract with the Ministry of Health but ZAMRA has subjectively selected to hinder and interfere with the transactions of Honeybee Phamarcy Limited,” Honeybee stated.
“ZAMRA is targeting Honeybee Pharmacy Limited because, over 70 companies have procured goods out of specifications but ZAMRA has waived the same. ZAMRA has been conducting and continues to conduct unfair practices towards Honeybee Pharmacy Limited as only six products of the 60 products supplied by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited were flagged as being out of specifications, but ZAMRA against this fact uttered statements to the public which suggest that over 32 products of those supplied by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited were defective and out of specifications.”