The Indian government will soon approach the Sri Lankan government to register a formal protest against the discrimination being shown by the Sri Lankan drug authorities towards Indian pharma companies vis-a-vis other countries.
While taking action against alleged export of substandard drugs, the Sri Lankan drug authorities had last month initiated action against six companies-- Virus Bio Products Ltd, Kilitch Drugs (India) Ltd, U Medica Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Baxter (India) Pvt Ltd, Belco Pharma, India and Mercury Laboratories Ltd. While the Sri Lankan authorities have banned all the other five Indian companies for two years, Baxter (India) Pvt Ltd, the wholly owned subsidiary of the US pharma company Baxter, was let free after asking the company to withdraw its three consignments.
According to sources, the pharma exporters are annoyed over the discrimination being shown to the Indian companies. Citing this action as double standard, they said that there should not be two set of standards for companies belonging to different countries. The angry exporters have raised the issue at the administrative committee meeting of the Pharmexcil held recently and urged it to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan authorities.
When contacted, Pharmexcil executive director Dr PV Appaji said, “The issue is at a preliminary stage and the commerce ministry will look into the issue. First we have to collect information through our Embassy in Sri Lanka about the seriousness of the quality issue.”
The health authorities in Sri Lanka had ordered withdrawal of supplies from these companies after a high-level panel found that they had supplied sub-standard drugs to the Medical Supplies Division and asked the companies to replace them with new stocks on their own expenses or face blacklisting for two years. The action comes after a committee went through the complaints received against these firms that there were glass pieces and substance particles in the injections being supplied by these companies.
The list of products that were found to be not of quality included Safrotin for injections imported from Kilitch Drugs India, Hydrocortisone Sodium Succinate for injections from U Medica Laboratories, Promothazine injections from Mercury Pharma India, normal saline from Baxter India and anti snake venom from Vins Bioproducts.