Dinesh Thakur goes to court over medicine quality; drug controller wants whistleblowers to be nationalistic!
GN Bureau | March 8, 2016
The next battle over ‘nationalism’ is beginning: apparently, if you criticise the dangerous state of drug manufacturing in India that can kill people, you might not be nationalistic.
Dinesh Thakur exposed Ranbaxy’s practices in the US, and the court imposed a fine of $500 million on the firm (and $48 million in compensation to him), might not have faced taunts there that his action was intended to benefit his country of origin. However, going to the supreme court here in India with the same concerns, Thakur will have to contend with “nationalism” before he could save some lives.
He has filed a PIL against the health ministry, the drugs consultative committee and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), accusing them of failing to enforce drug safety rules in India, Reuters has reported.
While the case is listed for hearing on Friday, CDSCO chief GN Singh has been quoted as saying that India’s regulatory agencies respect and appreciate whistleblowers but their “intentions should be genuine, nationalistic”. On Twitter, Thakur’s response was:
How patriotic is it to let 14 young women die in Bilaspur and hold no one accountable? https://t.co/mNXz2Ne5rn— Dinesh S. Thakur (@d_s_thakur) March 7, 2016
Thakur was referring to the deaths of a number of women in sterlisation camps in Bilaspur of Chhattisgarh in late 2014 – due to fake medicines. Read Governance Now’s full ground report.
To appreciate Singh’s concerns, one can refer to his interview with the Business Standard soon after the US court’s Ranbaxy verdict. He had said in 2014 that if he applied the US FDA standards, he would have to shut almost all drug facilities.
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