Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, Ranbaxy over supply of adulterated drugs
The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued notice to the Centre and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking cancellation of the company’s licence and a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation against it for allegedly supplying adulterated drugs in the country.
Agreeing to examine the allegations, a Bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam refused to pass any interim order for restraining the company from manufacturing drugs. “The matter requires consideration and we will examine it but we cannot grant any interim stay”, the Bench said.
Reacting to the development, Ranbaxy insisted that drugs sold by it in India are safe and effective. “Ranbaxy is compliant with all the requirements under Indian law and maintains that all the drugs sold by the company in the Indian market are safe and effective”, a company spokesperson said.
When asked about any reaction to the SC notice, the spokesperson said, “Ranbaxy has not yet received any notice to file reply from the honourable Supreme Court of India. If the company receives a notice, it will respond appropriately to the observations.”
The court passed the order on a PIL filed by advocate M.L. Sharma seeking action against the company for allegedly supplying sub-standard and adulterated drugs. Sharma had earlier also filed a similar petition which was dismissed by the apex court. The court had granted liberty to Sharma to file fresh petition with additional documents in support of his allegations.
In his PIL, Sharma alleged that Ranbaxy was fined $500 million by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for making and selling adulterated drugs. The PIL also sought sealing of all Ranbaxy manufacturing units in Delhi, including those in Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh. Sharma alleged that despite Ranbaxy pleading guilty to supplying adulterated drugs in the US and it being fined such a huge amount, the Centre has not taken any action to prohibit or ban the drugs made by the company. He also sought action against Central Drug Standards Control Organisation for permitting Ranbaxy to sell drugs in India.