PIL prays for CID probe into antibiotic drug scam in Mumbai

A PIL in the Bombay High Court has prayed for a CID probe into an alleged antibiotic drug scam that endangered the lives of patients last month in civic hospitals here.

On August 18, patients suffered adverse drug reactions after two antibiotics were administered intravenously by doctors at a civic-run hospital, the PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar submitted.

Of the 45 patients, 28 patients suffered severe reactions. Among them one Saira Shaikh died within 24 hours of the reaction andantibiotic drug officials seized Saira’s records from a hospital, the PIL, which is expected to come up for hearing tomorrow, said.

A fortnight ago, 18 children at a civic-run hospital in Bhiwandi had a similar experience. Similarly, on August 22, at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) hospital in Ghatkopar, patients complained of chills and abdominal pain after being injected with two antibiotics.

FDA officials visited the hospital and seized seven samples, the PIL alleged.

The PIL said that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has formed a panel to investigate the reason behind the 28 patients being taken ill.

The inquiry panel would probe whether the drugs were stored improperly or in unsuitable storage condition, or whether syringes used were contaminated. The probe would also look into the quality of drugs and injection water as well as the method of administration of injections.

As exposed by the Lentin Commission Report way back in 1986, the drug cartel in the pharmaceutical sector has been running a parallel administration in nexus with FDA officials and politicians, the petition said.

The PIL prayed that a CID probe be ordered and a case of negligence registered against FDA officials, municipal hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

SC dismisses PIL seeking curbs on sale of Ranbaxy drugs

The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed a petition for prohibiting Ranbaxy from producing and marketing its alleged “adulterated” medicines in the Indian market in the wake of reports of the pharma major having sold misbranded drugs in the US.

A bench of Justice A.K.Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by advocate M.L. Sharma, asking him to produce the material to show that drugs being marketed by the pharma major were substandard.

Holding that the courts could not be used for publicity, the court said: “You can’t rely on newspaper reports. What is a relevant material in USA can’t be relied upon in India.”

“You show us some material to show that the drugs produced by Ranbaxy are misbranded, spurious or adulterated and they are harmful to people in India,” the court said.

Justice Patnaik said: “Unless you show these materials, we can’t interfere on PIL based on newspaper reports for the sake of publicity.”

Dismissing the PIL, the court, however, granted liberty to Sharma to move a fresh petition if he gets new material to support his contention.

When the court took up the matter for hearing June 10, it had sought proof that the alleged adulterated drugs that were sold in US were being marketed in India too and were part of same consignment.

In the wake of Ranbaxy’s $555 million out-of-court settlement with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for falsifying data and selling substandard drugs, Sharma moved the apex court seeking direction to the central government to prohibit the production and marketing of substandard drugs by Ranbaxy in India.

(Source: IANS)

HC directs Maha govt not to destroy seized gutkha, pan masala

The Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra government not to destroy the gutkha and pan masala packets seized by them pending hearing of petitions filed by several manufacturing companies challenging the ban on sale or manufacture of these tobacco products.

The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) had seized gutkha and pan masala worth over Rs 5 lakh after the state government issued a notification on July 19, 2012 prohibiting manufacture, sale and storage of the tobacco products across Maharashtra.

Aggrieved by this, several gutkha and pan masala manufacturers approached the High Court seeking to set aside the notification and two regulations of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), under which the ban was brought into effect.

The state government today filed an affidavit saying the petitioners cannot challenge the constitutional validity of the regulation in the High Court here as the said Act and regulations have been made by the central government.

“The regulation has been enacted by the central government. The government of Maharashtra is only the enforcing authority,” the affidavit filed by Kamlesh Sankhe, joint commissioner (Food) from the FDA, states.

Justifying that the ban was issued in the interest of public health, the state government has said it is its duty to raise level of nutrition and standard of living among its citizens.

“Improving public health and raising level of nutrition is one of the primary duties of the state government. The government shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs except for medicinal purposes which are injurious to health,” the affidavit states.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar today adjourned the hearing till August 16 after the petitioner companies sought time to go through the state government’s affidavit and file their reply to it.

Source: PTI