CAIRO: A Cairo court ruled on Thursday that it does not have the jurisdiction to examine a challenge brought by the health minister against a ruling freezing the application of a Ministry of Health decree that radically altered the way medicines are priced.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) challenged Ministry of health decree 373 in a lawsuit brought in September 2009, arguing that the decree’s replacement of the former Cost Plus system (which priced medicines on the basis of the cost of their raw materials) with a new regime linking costing to international market prices of innovator brands was unconstitutional.
Cairo’s Administrative Court ordered that the government freeze application of the decree in April 2010.
The government responded both by lodging an appeal against the decision, the next session of which is scheduled for Dec. 6, 2010, and the motion to suspend implementation of the lower court ruling which the Court for Urgent Cases ruled last week it does not have the jurisdiction to examine.
EIPR legal officer Adel Ramadan described the motion filed by the government as an attempt to prolong litigation.
“The Ministry of Health was well aware that the Court for Urgent Cases does not have the jurisdiction to examine the motion for the suspension of the administrative court decision. Despite this, it presented a motion in front of a court without jurisdiction simply in order to prolong litigation,” Ramadan said in a statement issued last week.
“The Ministry of Health’s strong backing of the medicine pricing system directly undermines citizens’ welfare, deprives them of their right to obtain medicine and raises question marks”.