Ranbaxy drugs: Hospitals to take cue from Indian regulator

P. T. Jyothi Datta
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The Hindu

Bangalore Hospital Chief says medicines not inferior

“I will prescribe a Ranbaxy medicine and even take it, if required,” says Devi Shetty, Chairman of Bangalore-based Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital, coming out in full support of the drug major.

“People can safely take their medicine,” he told Business Line, adding, “Ranbaxy is a safe company.” The drug major has been in the eye of a storm, after it decided to pay $500 million towards settling fraud and criminal charges against it in the US. The company had been charged with falsifying data and not adhering to good manufacturing practices — violations defined in the US as adulteration.

Shetty pointed out that the genesis of the Ranbaxy problem, which culminated in the settlement last month, happened years ago. “Ranbaxy is a different company now and I trust the integrity of its management. The quality of its drugs is not inferior,” he added. In Mumbai, the Association of Hospitals (AoH), too, has decided not to take any alarmist steps.

“We should be guided by our FDA (Food and Drug Administration and our Drug Controller General of India. And they have not advised anything to the contrary,” said Pramod Lele, AoH-President and Chief Executive of Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital.

The AoH has 51 members, including Mumbai’s big charitable-trust-run hospitals Jaslok, Bombay Hospital, Lilavati, Breach Candy, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Hinduja.

In fact, Jaslok had issued an advisory not to take Ranbaxy’s medicines. “We have left it to individual hospitals to take their call,” said Lele, adding that AoH would issue an advisory only if the Indian regulator directs them to.

Our Hyderabad Bureau adds: The Apollo Pharmacy, an arm of the Apollo Hospitals group, has said that it is verifying necessary certifications of Ranbaxy drugs and that it has not suspended sales of the company’s drugs. “We are in talks with them for the last one week. Meanwhile, we have issued a cautionary advisory (to the pharmacies) based on concerns raised by the medical oversight committee,” a spokesperson of the company said here.

Reports suggested that Apollo had stopped selling Ranbaxy drugs temporarily. But it quickly made amends saying that it has not.

(This article was published on June 7, 2013)
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