New Delhi: Concerned over spurious drugs in the market, government proposes to reward whistle blowers providing information and amend the law to effectively deal with the menace.
“The government would bring the drugs and cosmetics amendment Bill for creating a Central Drug Authority. This will pave the way for making the regulatory mechanism robust,” health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Replying to a discussion on the working of his ministry, Azad said he proposed to bring a whistle blower scheme under which anyone providing information about the manufacture of spurious drugs would be given rewards up to Rs20 lakhs.
“Lot many people will come forward ... there will be some labourers” willing to share information, he said.
The other steps proposed include setting up of special courts for speedy trials for those facing charges, countrywide survey to know the extent of spurious drugs, Azad said.
Noting that the law provides for maximum punishment of life imprisonment for spurious drugs manufacturers and a fine of Rs10 lakhs, he said “left to myself, I am for capital punishment.” He said the menace could be checked even if life imprisonment to one or two such manufacturers.
Azad said an expert group would be set up to go into the issue of high cost of medicine so that the sufferings of the people could be mitigated. There was a need for ensuring quality health care at reasonable cost, he said.
In response to concerns expressed by leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley about shortage of doctors, Azad said government was considering relaxation in the norms for setting up of medical colleges. At present a minimum of 25 acres of land required for the purpose.
Acknowledging the difficult in acquiring vast land in big cities as also hilly areas, he said the district hospitals with over 300 beds may be allowed to open medical colleges.
Besides, the proposal for increasing the age of faculty members in the medical colleges is also under consideration of the government, Azad said adding that the student-teacher ratio would also be relaxed.
Responding to concerns over delay in setting up eight AIIMS-like institutions in different states, he said tenders for main buildings would be floated next month. These institutions would be completed in two to two-and-a-half years.
On the organ transplants, the government would bring a comprehensive bill in Parliament in the near future, he said.
He allayed fears about use of Indians as guinea pigs for clinical trials stating that the regulatory system would be strengthened.
Government would not allow sub-standard contraceptive and medicine which could be dangerous for the health of women, he said adding the products would be allowed in the market only after approval of experts.