Shimla, May 25
The HP High Court has issued notices to the Central and state governments on the issue of manufacturing of substandard and spurious drugs in Himachal Pradesh.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Virender Singh issued notices on a petition filed by NGO People for Responsible Governance. The NGO contended in the petition that due to the lack of proper drug testing labs in Himachal Pradesh, numerous manufacturers were selling substandard and spurious drugs in the market, causing illness and even loss of lives in India and abroad.
The court directed the authorities to file their replies and furnish information regarding the utilisation of Rs 30 crore that the Central Government had sanctioned in 2017 for setting up a lab. The court sought the status report with regard to the setting up of another testing lab by industries at Baddi in 2014.
The court clarified that the respondents would file comprehensive replies dealing with each and every concern expressed in the petition.
It is contended in the petition that Himachal has the biggest drug manufacturing industry in Asia. Drug manufacturing is done at a very large scale and in bulk, but the problem is that there are no checks on the manufacturing plants.
The petitioner stated that “the problem had occurred due to many factors, including the lack of adequately equipped laboratories. Baddi, the biggest hub of medicine manufacturing, does not even have a proper up-to-the-mark laboratory, and drugs manufactured in the area are sent to the Kandaghat laboratory, which is does not have proper equipment and is overburdened with work”.
Rajnish Maniktala, senior counsel for the petitioner, said the industrial belt had small to large drug manufacturers and many a time they skipped proper testing of drugs and sent products straight to the market, causing even death of innocent citizens.
Himachal has 660 pharmaceutical units housed in various industrial clusters but still it lacks well-equipped labs for testing drug samples. The petitioner urged the court that the government authorities be directed to ensure that the licence to manufacture drugs was not issued or renewed unless the manufacturer had established a Quality Control Department containing separate chemical, instrumentation, microbiological and biological testing on its premises, according to Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.
Told to file replies
The court directed the authorities to file replies and furnish information regarding the utilisation of Rs 30 crore that the Centre had sanctioned in 2017 for setting up a laboratory
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