IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NAMIBIA
In the matter between:
THE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF NAMIBIA First Appellant
DR R SIEBERHAGEN Second Appellant
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES First Respondent
MEDICINES REGULATORY AGENCY Second Respondent
THE REGISTRAR OF MEDICINES Third Respondent
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL Fourth Respondent
Coram: DAMASEB DCJ, MAINGA JA and O‟REGAN AJA
Heard: 15 June 2015
Delivered: 9 February 2017
Summary: The Medicine Related Substances Control Act 13 of 2003 (MRSCA)
requires that in order to sell medicine to his or her patients, a doctor must apply for and be granted a license by a Council established under the Act. Before 2008
doctors did not require to be licensed to sell medicine to patients. The MRSCA
empowers the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (Council) to grant a license if in „public need and interest‟ and if the doctor has the „required competence‟.
The MRSCA does not spell out the criteria needed for the granting of a license and what is meant by „required competence‟. The doctors challenged the licensing scheme as being unconstitutional, amongst others, for the lack of guidelines to be applied by the Council in considering a license application.
The court upholds the doctors‟ complaint that the MRSCA‟s licensing scheme is void for vagueness. The court declares the relevant provisions of the MRSCA creating the licensing scheme unconstitutional. The court, however, rejects the doctors‟ proposition that they have a constitutional right to sell medicine to patients without a license. The court is satisfied that there is a legitimate governmental purpose in regulating the sale of medicine by doctors to patients in order to prevent over prescription or unnecessary prescription of medicine to maximise profit without regard to the actual needs of the patients.
Being substantially successful, the doctors are granted costs.
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