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[e-drug] Closure of vaccine units challenge -legal notice to Indian health minister

E-DRUG: Closure of vaccine units challenge -legal notice to Indian health 

from Dr Gopal Dabade,
57, Tejaswinagar,
Dharwad 580 002

Copied as fair use
URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/02/21/stories/2009022153861400.htm 

Notice issued to Anbumani, Centre on closure of vaccine units 
J. Venkatesan 
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre, Union 
Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and others on a public interest litigation 
(PIL) petition challenging the closure of vaccine production facilities in 
three public sector undertakings (PSUs), two in Tamil Nadu and one in Himachal 

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam issued the 
notice on the PIL filed by S.P. Shukla, former special secretary of the 
government of India and former Member, Planning Commission, and four non- 
governmental organisations (NGOs) challenging the closure of vaccine production 
facilities at the over 100-year-old Pasteur Institute of India, Coonoor; BCG 
Vaccine Laboratory, Chennai, and Central Research Institute, Kasauli, in 
Himachal Pradesh. 
Notice to H.P., T.N. 

The Bench, after hearing senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, also issued notice to 
Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Directors of the three PSUs. 

According to the petitioners, the three PSUs were manufacturing several 
vaccines, including universal vaccines for Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus (DPT), 
Tetanus Toxid (TT), Diphtheria and Tetanus (DT), measles, polio and Bacillus 
Calmette Guerin (BCG), which were distributed to government hospitals. They 
alleged that the Health Ministry took the decision to close down the production 
for the benefit of private companies selling their vaccines at prices higher 
than the ones produced in PSUs.

The petition said suspension of production in three most important vaccine 
units in the PSUs undermined a century-old effort of building vaccine 
self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Ironically, their closure happened at a 
time when the production in the three PSUs was peaking and the vaccine 
demand-supply gaps were narrowing and when there had been no complaint at all 
on the quality of the vaccines produced. A great disservice had been done to 
the nation by halting production in these pioneering research and production 
units, it was contended.
Expert panel sought 

The petitioners sought a direction to set up a committee of experts to go into 
the facts and submit a report to the court and a direction to re-start 
production facilities in the three units.


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