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THE Supreme Court has admonished drug major Ranbaxy Laboratories for not raising on the relevant occasion the issue of refunding Rs one crore penalty the government imposed on it for allegedly overcharging drug prices.

   A Bench headed by Justice V S Sirpurkar, while hearing the Centre’s plea, flayed Ranbaxy for not raising the issue when the matter was decided in May last year in the apex court.

  "Why did you keep quiet at the time when the final orders were passed? You failed to raise the issue and now you want refund ... You were sleeping then or you were in coma?" Justice Sirpurkar observed. However, the Court permitted the company to move an application seeking the refund. The Ranbaxy counsel sought refund of Rs 1 crore with interest more than a year after SC upheld the firm’s position in May 2008. SC in January this year dismissed the review plea filed by the Center challenging its decision of May 12 last year wherein it had held that exemption from the Drug Prices (Control) Order shall relate to drugs just manufactured in the period of exemption and they need not be sold also during the interval. SC Bench in its May 2008 verdict observed that a manufacturer is not in a position to know when a drug will be sold.

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