SC summons audit report in substandard stents case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Saturday ordered the attorney general to submit within a week the audit report of Rs35 million handed to Pakistani scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand for the production of coronary stents.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, resumed the hearing of the suo motu case pertaining to unregistered stents in the country. A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, to keep the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart disease.

The apex court also ordered Dr Samar Mubarakmand to submit a written reply within a week over the issuance of the amount to him. Dr Mubarakmand, who was summoned by the apex court in the last hearing, informed the court that a project worth Rs37 million was started while he was the chairman of The National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESC).

Under the project, 10,000 stents were to be manufactured locally, out of which 400 were manufactured and sent to Germany for testing. On being asked by the court where the stents are now, Mubarakmand said out of the Rs35 million, the machine used for manufacturing stents alone cost Rs30 million. The rest was spent on salaries of experts and other expenses, he said.

“After that I retired and handed over the project to NUST [National University of Sciences and Technology],” the scientist told the court.

Meanwhile, NUST authorities informed the court that 450 stents have been sent to Germany for testing.

The chief justice also said that the court will summon all manufacturers from which the stents are imported. He also remarked that the court will fix the price of locally-made stents.

The court will resume hearing the case at 4pm. Dr Murtaza in the last hearing said that Pakistan will be producing its own cardiac stents by June 2018.