'Stringent punishment be given to spurious drug manufacturers'

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New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) The CPI(M) today criticised the government for stopping vaccine production in three public sector units, thereby creating a severe shortage of vaccines in the country, while BJP, Congress, CPI and other parties demanded that stringent punishment be given to manufacturers of adulterated drugs for wreaking havoc on the health and lives of people.

Participating in a debate on the Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill, 2005 moved by Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss in the Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said the production was stopped at three PSUs by the Health Ministry on the grounds of manufacturing practices of GMP creating a severe shortage of vaccines for universal immunisation programme in many states, including West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu. This has promoted private manufacturers of vaccine with whom the government was ''soft'' and for whom none of GMP was made applicable, she charged and said the private companies must also be made to follow them.

She also criticised the US Food and Drug Authorities inspectors inspecting Indian drug manufacturing units of Ranbaxy and then banning them on the grounds of GMP and said foreign inspectors should not be allowed in the country and standards of manufacturing be maintained to promote health of the Indian people.

Ms Karat also criticised the government for allowing clinical trials of various drugs by multinational companies on Indian women and children, thereby harming their health. The MNCs save two-thirds cost by performing clinical trial in India but the risk was faced by the poor people of the country, she said.

She said the manufacturers of adulterated drugs which harm the health of people should be given stringent punishment and the big pharma companies, who outsource the manufacturing resulting in the making of spurious drugs, should also be held accountable.

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