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Drug panel

New Delhi, Jan. 28: The health ministry has set up an expert committee under R.A. Mashelkar, chairperson of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to eliminate the burgeoning market in spurious drugs, reports our special correspondent.

Chairing a meeting attended by representatives from companies like Ranbaxy, Cipla and Johnson & Johnson, health minister Shatrughan Sinha said: “Inko bail nahin jail milna chahiye (They deserve jail not bail).”

The panel, comprising health secretaries from Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Bihar, apart from former Delhi police commissioner Vijay Karan, scientists and ministry officials, is to submit the report in six months.

Sinha presided over a meeting of state health secretaries last November to work out a mechanism to weed out spurious drug dealers thriving in big cities and small towns. Most state officials feel that the regulatory mechanism for the sale of drugs will have to be tightened in order to drive out spurious drug dealers.

Officials in Delhi’s health ministry say states would have to motivate their drug inspectors into taking appropriate action and provide more teeth to the law enforcement machinery. One effective method could be by using tamper-proof packaging for drugs, they added.

Sinha promised to check the sale of spurious drugs after taking charge as health minister. Today’s meeting was a step in that direction, officials said.

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