The 2011 ephedrine scandal, also known as the ephedrine quota case, was a significant pharmaceutical scandal in Pakistan, involving the illegal allocation of ephedrine quotas to pharmaceutical companies for the production of controlled substances.
Ephedrine is a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, commonly known as Ice, a powerful stimulant and controlled substance.
The scandal revolved around the alleged misuse of ephedrine quotas, which were meant for the production of medicines but were reportedly diverted to produce illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine.
This diversion was believed to have contributed to the rise of the illegal drug trade and the abuse of methamphetamine in Pakistan.
Several prominent individuals, including Ali Musa Gilani, were implicated in the scandal. Ali was alleged to have played a role in approving and facilitating the allocation of ephedrine quotas during his tenure as the Health Minister in Punjab.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on three individuals, including former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, for their roles in the 2011 ephedrine scandal that occurred during the PPP party’s rule. The IHC’s division bench revealed its order on Saturday, rejecting the pleas of Shahabuddin, former director-general health Asad Hafeez, and Ansar Farooq Chaudhry.
The court’s order emphasized that ephedrine is indeed a narcotic.
Simultaneously, an Anti-Narcotics Court has summoned all eight accused in the case to testify on November 16. During the upcoming hearing, the court will also record statements from the four approvers in the case, including Ali Musa Gilani, the son of former prime minister and PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The scandal led to investigations, arrests, and legal proceedings against those involved, with various hearings and developments taking place over several years. It was a significant and controversial case in Pakistan’s legal and political landscape.