Report: Officials wrongly closed Indian vax plants

The saga of the closed vaccine-making plants in India continues. A report by an investigating committee finds that top Ministry officials made the call. The report states the decision to close the three plants--the BCG Vaccine Lab, the Pasteur Institute of India and the Central Research Institute at Kasauli--lies with "the apex functionaries of the political and bureaucratic executive, including the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and the then Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary," says The Hindu.

The plant closures followed WHO inspections that cited GMP violations but did not recommended license suspension or cancellation. Yet the licenses were suspended in 2008, during the tenure of Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and Health and Family Welfare Secretary P.K. Hota.

A vaccine shortage followed, and officials attempted to rectify it through prophylactic purchases from private foreign suppliers. A health official last March asked the government to restart the facilities, though some question the government's willingness to rectify the GMP violations.

The investigating committee questions the jurisdiction of the WHO in the matter over that of the Indian regulatory authority. The latter found no problem with plants, says the Deccan Herald. Ramadoss approved the WHO inspection at Hota's recommendation. 

- see the Hindu article
- here's the Herald report

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