No proper plan to revive CRI Kasauli

Shimla: The Union government has no roadmap for reviving the three state run vaccine producing units in the country according to a report by a parliamentary committee.

The licences of the Central Research Institute (CRI) Kasauli, Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor, and BCG Vaccine Laboratory in Guindy, Tamil Nadu, were suspended in January 2008 by the union health ministry on the ground that these were not adhering to the WHO norms for manufacturing.

In the report tabled in the monsoon session of the Loksabha, the committee, that included Rajya Sabha member from Himachal Pradesh Viplove Thakur observed that every attempt was made to create hurdles so that the process of making them goods manufacturing practices compliant continues for long and their vaccine production remains suspended.

It said within two years of closure of the units, the competitive prices of vaccines have shot up more than double. With rising prices of vaccines, expenditure incurred in the implementation of universal immunisation programme in the country would surely add to the burden of the public exchequer.

The report also held that the decision to discontinue vaccine production was not guided by sound reasoning. ‘There is nothing substantial on record analysing the grounds on which the decision was taken,’ it observed.

The committee in it’s report said the production at the Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor is likely to begin in December, but the ministry is silent on allowing the BCG Vaccine Laboratory in Guindy to restart production.

The government had allowed the CRI Kasauli to restart production in April this year and the institute has restarted production of DPT, yellow fever and anti-sera vaccines.

Before the suspension CRI Kasauli was manufacturing more than 15 vaccines including for diphtheria, measles, typhoid and tetanus.

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