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PDMA seeks PM’s intervention to clean up CDSCO from corrupt officials

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, New Delhi
Monday, September 9, 2019, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

A memorandum uploaded on the Public Grievances Redressal Portal (PG portal) of the union government by the Punjab Drugs Manufacturers Association (PDMA) seeks Prime Minister’s intervention to exempt drug manufacturing industry from the clutches of certain corrupt CDSCO officials.

The powers granted to the central drug inspectors for industry visit for issuing manufacturing licences are utilized for extorting money from the manufacturers, the association alleges.

PDMA wanted the Prime Minister to take steps to de-notify the GSR 1337 (E) and GSR 923 (E) notifications which amended provisions of D&C Rules to mandate joint inspections by central and state regulatory officials before issuing manufacturing licenses to the industry.

The memorandum was signed by 26 members of the PDMA and addressed to the Prime Minister. A letter attached to the memorandum clarifies that the association was forced to approach the PMO because of ceaseless corrupt activities by the officials in the national drug regulator’s office (CSDCO). A copy of the letter was shared with Pharmabiz.

Sharing details, the president of PDMA, Jagdeep Singh alleged that the amendment via notification of 1337 (E) was done at the behest of some CDSCO officials to enable them for extortion of money from manufacturers. Their corruption practices remain unchecked throughout the country because the manufacturers and other industry stakeholders are unable to approach the central ministers and the bureaucrats. Whereas,  in the state levels, they can easily approach the ministers and the government secretaries and express their grievances. To an extent, this deters the state regulators from doing corrupt activities for extorting money from the manufacturing companies. He said the D&C Act gives powers to the drug inspectors to extort money. Corruption in the CDSCO will continue until systemic changes in laws are introduced. The only choice left with a manufacturer at present is either give bribe or close down his unit.

“It is too difficult to run an industrial unit in the present context of CDSCO rules. Any action against manufacturers will only disenchant future entrepreneurs. In Punjab the educated youth are migrating to foreign countries seeking suitable jobs and the situation creates unparallel situation of unemployment which in turn hits the economy”, said he.

Hailing the central investing agency (CBI) for strong actions against corruption, he mentioned in the letter that one drug inspector of the CDSCO was arrested by the CBI sleuths from Amritsar on August 12 and a deputy director of the central regulatory agency was taken into custody by the CBI officials on August 16 from New Delhi on corruption charges. Singh raises the allegation that the officer behind drafting the amendment of GSR 1337 (E) is the same person recently arrested by the central investigative agency in Delhi.

Going further, he said the manufacturers who oppose CDSCO’s corrupt activities are being victimised or exploited at port offices at the time of import or export of consignments. Referring to the 59th report of the Standing Committee on H&FW which exposed conclusively the functioning of CDSCO in 2012, although no action was taken by the government on it, Jagdeep Singh said corruption of CDSCO is nothing new.

PDMA further wants the government to change the role of drug inspector as  that of a facilitator and a guide for giving guidance to improve conditions and produce better quality drugs instead of making the industry visit as source for extorting money. He writes that the factory visit has to be suspected as no patient has died or shown severe reaction from poor quality medicines. Last year the minister of chemicals and fertilisers informed the Parliament that the percentage of spurious drugs was only 0.3 per cent to 0.4 per cent, and anti-social elements are responsible for this.

 

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