Updated on 4 June 2012
The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the healthcare sector in India also attribute the failure of the public sector units to the government policies. According to them, the government ignored the requirement of the units over an extended period of time and the country's vaccine policy is increasingly being shaped by the industry's supply push.
Ms Vibha Varshney, science editor, Down to Earth magazine, observes, "It is interesting that the policy, which has been made in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) asking for revival of public sector units, has so little to say about their revival. The policy accepts that India does not have the capacity to manufacture new vaccines to justify the involvement of the private sector. Why shouldn't there be efforts to increase the capacity of these PSUs?"
The suggestion is that these units should be made autonomous and free to take decisions on pricing and important issues pertaining to their growth.
Dr Krishna Ella, CMD of Bharat Biotech and president of Vaccine Manufacturers Association of India, points out that the closures were due to lack of planning and timely upgrade. "The suspension or closure of vaccine manufacturing by the public sector manufacturers was perhaps due to lack of planning to upgrade the facilities and equipment, inadequate compliance to GMP, lacunae in management practices and non-availability of suitable directors to head the units," he says.
"By reopening and rejuvenating the public sector vaccine manufacturing units, the government may realize the vital importance of encouraging and sustaining the vaccine manufacturers to provide good quality vaccines that would meet international standards," adds Dr Ella.
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