About

Cut Dependence On China For Cancer Drug Import: PIL

Cut Dependence On China For Cancer Drug Import: PIL


Chennai, 6 May 2018: Claiming that overwhelming dependence of drugs and raw materials from China, particularly those for cancer treatments, could prove harmful those for the health sector in India, a Chennai-based pharmaceutical company has approached the Madras high court to direct the Centre to provide more preference to indigenous manufacturers in procurement of cancer drugs. It sought to achieve self-reliance for seven critical active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) molecules in cancer treatment.

 

“Cancer has become endemic and is proliferating at alarming rates. Every 13th cancer patient is an Indian. Every 10 minutes we lose two women and every day 50 children to this dreaded disease. By 2030, the number of women patients estimated to be diagnosed with cancer will be equal to that of the population of Denmark. The age bracket of patients afflicted with cancer is getting younger. We could ill-afford to forgo our self-reliance and world class facilities, especially at this juncture,” M Perumal, managing director of Vinkem Labs Limited, said.

 

The petitioner pointed out that India is heavily relying on China for import of APIs, despite the availability of manufacturers in domestic market with world class expertise and facility. The import of APIs which was at 0.3% in 1991 steadily rose to 75% by 2006 with China having 90% share in the total imports, the petitioner said.

 

In 2014, after the then National Security Advisor (NSA) sounded alarm bells on the issue, an expert committee headed by scientist Dr V M Katoch was formed to suggest remedies. Based on the recommendations of the committee, the government declared 2015 as the year of Indian AIPs and vowed to implement the recommendations within 100 days, besides constituting a separate ministry for pharmaceuticals. But so far nothing has materialised, the petitioner claimed.

 

Admitting the plea, Justice N Kirubakaran suo motu impleaded the secretary to the department of scientific and industrial research, ministry of science and technology, and directed them to file their response.

 

Considering the petitioner’s plea, the department sent a mail stating that it is continuing to operate the 12th Five Year Plan Scheme on “Patent Acquisition and Collaborative Research and Technology Development (PACE)” during 2017-2010. Submitting that the scheme supports ingenious work and assists in development of new technologies or creative/innovative application of the existing technologies to solve unmet needs of industry, it suggested the petitioner to apply for funds to revive its operation under the scheme.

 

In view of the invitation from the department, the court directed the petitioner to submit application to the department and said that its outcome shall be informed to the court. ET Healthworld