Kudos to the ministry of health for asking the drugs and pharmaceuticals regulator to immediately start on-site inspections and audits of drug trials in India.
Both the ministry and the drug controller have responded swiftly to growing concerns, chronicled in a two-part series last week by Mint, about how hundreds of Indians were turning to first-stage human drug tests as a source of livelihood, with little regard to risks. The articles focused on loose regulation and unethical recruiting methods used by some contract research organizations in what is a rapidly growing, globally competitive Indian business.
While we applaud this speed, the health ministry is dragging its feet on a much more significant piece of legislation to combat spurious drugs. An overhaul of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act has been stuck in Parliament despite growing evidence of fake drugs in the country. Will health minister A. Ramadoss now take a leadership role and help turn that critical Bill into law?