On Friday, the Centre took charge of relief operations in Jammu & Kashmir, with the health ministry sending a team of doctors and experts along with medicines to the state. The ministry said it was procuring more medicines for relief.
Ranbaxy, Torrent Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Lupin and Serum Institute manufacture many of the popular brands of the malaria drug, the rabies vaccine and snake antivenom.
According to the Drug Price Control Order, 2013, companies making essential medicines are required to inform the NPPA at least six months before they plan to discontinue production of any such drug. The government can also direct a company to continue production for up to a year.
The official added the government and the regulatory agencies were working to resolve the problem and ensure supplies continued. “There can be various reasons for short supply. There can be inadequate supply of raw material. Viability could also be an issue. But stopping production is not a solution. The companies should bring it to our notice and the government will take steps to ensure continuation of supplies,” he said. The regulator has asked drug companies to submit production data. If they did not comply, they could face action under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the official said.