ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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State Apathy in Its Extreme

Drug regulation in India seems only to serve the interests of industry; the citizen does not matter.

What does the union government do when a parliamentary committee, after 18 months of painstaking investigation, reports that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has been looking after the interests of the pharmaceutical industry at the cost of the ordinary consumer? And when the committee backs its indictment with detailed case studies and offers recommendations? The government, of course, appoints a committee to look into the parliamentary committee’s report!

The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare minces no words to describe the rot in the CDSCO. It points out that “most of the ills besetting the system of drugs regulation in India are mainly due to the skewed priorities and perceptions of CDSCO. For decades together it has been according primacy to the propagation and facilitation of the drugs industry, due to which, unfortunately, the interest of the biggest stakeholder, i e, the consumer has never been ensured.” The sales turnover (domestic plus export) of the India’s pharmaceutical industry is estimated at over Rs 1,00,000 crore a year. Ever since the patent regime was modified in 2005, pharma multi­nationals have been jostling to expand their footprint in India.

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