Social Scientist. v 4, no. 42 (Jan 1976) p. 70.

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REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON DRUGS AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY, Ministry of Petroleum and Chemicals, Government of India, April 1975, p 275, Rs 17.00.

THE COMMITTEE on Drugs and Pharmaceutical Industry under the chairmanship ofjaisukhlal Hathi submitted its report to government on 6 April 1975. In accordance with the terms of reference, it enquired into the production, distribution, price regulation, quality control, technologi- . cal improvement and Indian and small scale sector development. Onthese matters the committee came out with its own recommendations.

In appreciation of the fact that ill health has major socio-economic implications, the committee felt that "production and distribution of drugs should constitute an important social responsibility of the state... and should vest with the state"l. Accordingly, a major role was to be assigned to the public sector and measures were suggested for its growth:

the sole responsibility for expanding production of certain drugs; exclusive manufacture of certain drugs at present being imported;2 expansion and installation of new capaciy; and preference in the manufacture of essential drugs. But the committee failed to suggest nationalization of the private companies which produce below capacity, create artificial shortages and charge enormous prices.

The committee has also failed to suggest a suitable distribution mechanism for esssential drugs. No suggestion has been made to check artificial shortages and sale of life-saving drugs in the black market. Nor has it recommended any distribution system to check adulteration. In India, there are 2440 companies, 20,000 chemists and 80,000 distributors of drugs. Adulteration can take place at any of these stages making it difficult to check the quality of drugs. The problem can be solved only if government undertakes the distribution through its own sales depots. The

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