Madras High Court steps in to cut dependency on Chinese drugs for cancer
Chennai: The Madras High Court appointed advocate N L Rajah as amicus curiae to look into the possibilities of encouraging domestic manufacturers of cancer drugs to avoid dependency on Chinese-made ones.
Justice N Kirubakaran, who passed an interim order, directed Rajah to report on the rising incidents and spread of cancer and medicines for the treatment of the deadly disease.
The issue pertains to a plea moved by Vinkem Labs Limited, a domestic manufacturer, claiming that overwhelming dependence on drugs and raw material from China, particularly those for cancer treatment, could prove harmful to those in the Indian health sector.
The company wanted the court to direct the central government to provide more preference to the indigenous manufacturers than Chinese ones.
It sought to achieve self-reliance for seven critical active pharmaceutical ingredient molecules in cancer treatment.
The petitioner claimed every 13th cancer patient in the world is an Indian. Two women succumb to the disease every 10 minutes, while 50 children die every day, the company submitted.
According to the petitioner, over 90 percent of raw material for the manufacture of cancer drugs are imported from China.
When the plea came up today, the judge said, "If the petitioner is given the required assistance, the petitioner is sure that he could manufacture cancer drugs at a lower rate, as he developed extensive know-how in generic cancer drugs and ultimately the dependence on China would be reduced considerably."
In its response, the government submitted that its intent is to implement the recommendations of the Katoch committee to bring down the dependence on foreign drug-makers, but in the meantime, the petitioner cannot seek a general direction for preferential allotment/quota.
The court then said that the amicus curiae would report the progress of the evaluation to the court on June 11 and submit a report on June 27.