Lawmakers find pharma firms floating norms to sell banned drugs in India
OFFICIALS of India's drug regulator have been colluding with pharmaceutical firms to speed up approval procedures, allowing some drugs that are not allowed in other countries to go on sale, according to an 18-month investigation by lawmakers.
The parliamentary panel's 78-page report names a number of major international drug companies and Indian firms.
The report talks generally of collusion between officials in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), independent medical experts and pharmaceutical companies but does not directly accuse the firms of wrongdoing or name any of the CDSCO officials.
Instead, the panel catalogued a series of procedural failures that it said raised questions about how some of the drugs, including those made by pharmaceutical giants, were allowed to be sold in India.
Thirteen drugs scrutinised by the panel are not allowed to be sold in the US, Canada, Britain, European Union and Australia, it said.
The Indian pharmaceutical market is the fourth largest in the world in terms of volume, according to the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India. It generates $12bn in sales every year.
The panel recommended that the government re-examine certain drugs that had been approved, investigate the "gross violation" of Indian laws it had uncovered, and take action against officials alleged to have colluded with the drug companies.
"What we have found is very alarming," said Brajesh Pathak, chairman of the Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare. "The health ministry should investigate the matter and take urgent action on the report."
The health ministry said it was studying the report and would take "appropriate action" if required.
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