New Delhi: Peddlers of spurious drugs can now be sentenced to life terms, Parliament was informed on Friday.
"Short of capital punishment, everything that is possible under the law will be done to stamp out the circulation of spurious drugs," Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.
"I have signed the papers yesterday (Thursday). The new law will be notified within a week," Azad added.
"So far, the law was very mild. No action could be taken against those who were caught. Now there will be special courts to fast track trials. Up to life imprisonment can be awarded to those who manufacture and sell spurious drugs," the minister maintained.
Replying to a supplementary, he said the creation of a Central Drug Authority (CDA) was the "second step" in tightening the noose around manufacturers and peddlers of spurious drugs.
"We are holding a series of meetings with the pharmaceutical industry. The creation of the CDA will be the second step," Azad said.
Referring to the circulation of fake "Made in India" drugs in Nigeria, he attributed this to "unscrupulous elements" taking advantage of the growth of this country`s pharmaceutical industry.
"The Indian pharmaceutical industry today has a global presence. Unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of this. It has come to the notice of the government of India that such ("Made in India") drugs have been seized by the Nigerian authorities.
"A probe has revealed that these drugs originated from China," Azad said.
"There are international ramifications but the assistance of Interpol has not been sought so far," he said in reply to a supplementary.