India facing drug crisis

India facing drug crisis

A report in the latest edition of Down to Earth magazine, brought out by the CSE, says in January 2008, the health ministry under Anbumani Ramadoss suspended the licences of three public sector suppliers of vaccines – the Central Research Institute in Kasauli, BCG Vaccine Laboratory in Chennai and Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor.

These three units together meet 80 per cent of the vaccine requirements under the universal immunisation programme, and their closure has created a “debilitating shortage of vaccines,” the report said.

Quoting ministry data it laid hands on under the RTI, the report said compared to 2007-08, DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccination in 2008-09 (from April to November) fell by over 29 per cent in Orissa and over 36 per cent in West Bengal. BCG vaccination fell by almost 8 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and by over 11 per cent in Punjab.

“On an average, the availability of vaccines in different states has fallen by between 10 and 30 per cent,” it said. CSE director Sunita Narain said what the magazine had uncovered was shocking. “It shows that the ministry has been criminally negligent in ensuring alternative supply of life-saving and vital vaccines in the country.”

DH News Service

* In January 2008, govt suspended licences of Central Research Institute (CRI), BCG Vaccine Laboratory (BSGVL) and Pasteur Institute of India (PII)

* The decision was taken after a WHO inspection found them lacking in GMP

* The units together meet 80 per cent of the vaccine requirements under the universal immunisation programme

* After their closure, availability of vaccines on an average has fallen by between 10 and 30 per cent

* Orders were given to Biological Evans, whose GMP remained doubtful

 

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