India considers plant restarts

India is rethinking its decision to shut down three aging manufacturing plants in light of a vaccine shortage. The facilities were closed two years ago for standards violations. They produced bulk vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis.

The state-owned units include the spry BCG Vaccine Laboratory in Chennai at 60 years, the 100-year-old Pasteur Institute of India at Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, and the 103-year-old Central Research Institute at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. A health official asked the government to restart the facilities immediately and bring them up to quality standards.

A local press report says that production of some of the vaccines was halted with the plant closings. Commercial drugmakers offered to meet demand, but they required lead time. Interim shortages left some of the most populated areas without vaccines, especially the one for TB. India has the largest incidence of TB in the world, according to the article.

The call to revive the facilities comes as big-name vaccine makers set up shop in India. As we've reported, Novavax, Novartis and Sanofi are three of the more recent companies making a play in the country through joint ventures, acquisitions and new facilities--not just to meet in-country demand, but also because of lower manufacturing costs.

- here's the article