PIL Against Ranbaxy in SC for Selling Adulterated Drugs

An advocate today approached the Supreme Court with a PIL seeking cancellation of the license granted to Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and for initiating probe against the pharma major for allegedly manufacturing and selling adulterated drugs.

The public interest litigation (PIL), which comes in the wake of the Indian pharma major being fined USD 500 million by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for making and selling "adulterated" drugs, has also sought sealing of all its manufacturing units in India, including those in Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh.

The PIL was mentioned before a bench of justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Madan B Lokur which asked the petitioner and advocate M L Sharma to complete the technical requirements with the registry before taking it on board for hearing.

The bench said the PIL can be listed on the mentioning list for fixing the hearing next week.

The petitioner has also sought a direction for prosecution of Ranbaxy's current and former directors.

In his petition, the advocate has contended that making and selling adulterated drugs is a heinous crime and "amounts to committing murder" and a person who knowingly does it is liable to be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code.

He sought a bar on any further sale of drugs manufactured by the pharma company and also seizure of the entire properties of the directors of Ranbaxy.

He claimed that despite Ranbaxy pleading guilty to supplying adulterated drugs in the US and it being fined such a huge amount, the Centre has not taken any action to prohibit or ban the drugs made by the company.

He also sought action against Indian drug regulator, Central Drug Standards Control Organization (CDSCO) for permitting Ranbaxy to sell drugs in India, especially in the wake of the results of the USFDA investigation against the company.

The petition said Mumbai's Jaslok Hospital has banned medicines supplied by Ranbaxy.

The lawyer alleged that Ranbaxy has been supplying adulterated drugs in India as well as other countries which is punishable under the Drug and Cosmetics Act.

"It is not a tale of cutting corners or lax manufacturing practices but one of outright fraud, in which the company knowingly sold substandard drugs around the world, including in India, Africa and USA while working to deceive regulators," the petition said.

He claimed that "supply of adulterated medicine, knowingly and deliberately for exploitation of money and business is a heinous offence which is strictly prohibited under the Drug and Cosmetics Act."

He has also sought imposition of heavy penalty on the drug company.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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