Video Producer and Editor: Garima Sadhwani
18 pharmaceutical companies lost their licenses on Tuesday, 28 March, as the government asked them to stop manufacturing over “poor quality of medicines.”
The Drugs Controller General of India ordered inspections at 76 pharma companies across 20 states.
Not just that, another 26 pharma companies have been sent show cause notices, Union Health Ministry sources told NDTV.
Here’s all you need to know.
Why this sudden crackdown? The inspections, by the central and state teams, had been ongoing for about 15 days. These come as questions are being raised over the quality of Indian-manufactured drugs that are being sold abroad.
A majority of these companies were reportedly based out of Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
Past precedents: In the last few months, India has been under the scanner of global agencies like the World Health Organization after reports emerged that drugs/cough syrups manufactured in India caused deaths and illness in other countries.
On 5 October last year, the WHO had issued a warning alert against four cough and cold syrups, manufactured by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, after 66 children allegedly lost their lives in The Gambia.
In another instance, on 11 January, the WHO again issued an alert against two cough syrups manufactured by Noida-based Marion Biotech after the syrups were linked to the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan in December last year.
After the WHO called them “unsafe” and “substandard medical products,” three employees of the company were arrested in early March.
But the cases do not end there.
In February, the United States health authorities warned against the use of eye drops sold by Chennai-based Global Pharma Healthcare after the product led to one person’s death and multiple cases of vision loss.
The company then had to recall the entire batch of eye drops manufactured by them.
And again in February, Gujarat-based Zydus Lifesciences had to recall over “55,000 bottles of a generic medication used to treat gout from the US market,” after the drug failed quality tests, NDTV had reported.
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