Wednesday 8 December 2021
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HomePoliticsIndiaModi slams 'creaky, cumbersome' drug regulation in India

Modi slams ‘creaky, cumbersome’ drug regulation in India

Telling the media what Prime Minister Modi said at the meeting, an official said Gilead Sciences' experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir, for example, would take its own sweet time to reach India

While most news mediums in the morning were celebrating the fact of Prime Minister acknowledging 30 anti-coronavirus drug and vaccine development efforts in the reaching the stage of trials, what they missed was that he had also taken to task the drug regulator of the country. In a meeting held on 5 May to review the status of India’s efforts in developing a coronavirus vaccine, Modi said India’s regulatory system for new drugs and vaccines was still “creaky and cumbersome” at the best of times.

The prime minister told top officials present at the meeting this had to change. “The prime minister underscored that we not only had to have the highest quality, ethical standards but also the highest speed,” a senior government official told a newspaper. “This means we need to overhaul the regulatory system, that too at warp speed,” another official said.

In India, it takes time for companies to run trials on even mice while countries and the US have provisions by which they can conduct trials on humans when they see it’s an emergency. “We really need to revamp the approval processes at the drug controller’s office,” yet another official said.

The official cited the example of Gilead Sciences’ experimental antiviral drug, Remdesivir, which would take its own sweet time to reach India due to the red tape in Indian bureaucracy.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in an official statement after the meeting that Modi had taken note of the “extraordinary coming together” of academia, industry and government, combined with an expedient but efficient regulatory process. According to the statement, the prime minister said during the meeting, “This kind of pride, originality and sense of purpose should dominate our approach going ahead. It is only then that we can be amongst the best in the world and not followers, in science.”


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