• Spurious drugs can have harmful side-effects and can even kill. Yet India has been able to decide only 35 cases of the 606 prosecutions launched against the manufacture, sale and distribution of spurious or adulterated drugs from 2015 to 2018.
• The 54th Parliamentary Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers noted that “considering the size of the country and the huge quantum of medicines being distributed and sold in the country, this sample size is not adequate to measure the actual problem of spurious and non-standard quality drugs in the country.
• There is an urgent need for time-bound decisions on prosecutions launched against manufacture, sale and distribution of spurious and non-standard quality drugs. Special courts should be opened in all states/UT and these courts may also impressed upon the need for timely disposal of cases.
• Previously the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had conducted a country-wide survey for the years 2014-16 to determine the extent of spurious/ not of standard quality of drugs in the country.
• Meanwhile the Parliamentary Committee has strongly recommend that the government should take adequate measures to considerably increase the number of samples of drugs to be tested so as to instil fear in those who indulges in sale/distribution of spurious/non-standard quality drugs.
Mains Paper 3: Science and technology
Prelims level: spurious drugs