ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Saturday sought audit report of Rs37 million spent on importing a machine in 2004 for production of cardiac stents in Pakistan.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a suo motu notice on the sale of cardiac stents at exorbitant prices in the country.

The chief justice inquired from Dr Samar Mubarak, renowned nuclear physicist, about the production of stents?

Dr Samar replied as Chairman National Engineering and Scientific Commission he had imported the machine from Germany in 2004 to produce 10,000 stents annually in the country. The plan was initiated with the cost of Rs37 million, he added. He said that the technology was transferred to the National University of Science and Technology.

The officials from the National University of Sciences and Technology informed that a machine was purchased at Rs30 million for manufacturing of stents locally.

The chief justice said that he wanted Pakistani stents at any cost by May, adding those who do not want to work should better leave the country.

The chief justice directed Dr Samar Mubarak to submit in writing about the performance and working of the project within seven days. The additional attorney general informed that audit of Rs37 million was not conducted while no plea in this regard is pending with the Drug Regulatory Authority.

The Supreme Court formed a committee to find out cost of operation carried out to install stents. Chairman Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology Gen (Retd) Azhar Kiani will lead the committee.

The court directed the committee to give proposals regarding best available stent treatment at minimum possible cost.

The apex court summoned the institutional head of Shifa International hospital. The Shifa international hospital charged an amount of Rs6.4 million for stent operation of the daughter of a judge a few days ago.

In January, the top court was informed that Pakistani stents would be available in the market by June and would cost Rs15,000 for one sent.

Dr Murtaza Ali, a heart specialist, who is also director of the project, responded to the court’s queries when it resumed hearing of the suo motu case against the sale of substandard stents in Pakistan.

The case is adjourned until next week.