Covaxin maker Dr Krishna Ella defends Brand India over drug quality

Dr Ella said that Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine against Covid-19 will soon be available in hospital for inoculation.

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By: Subham Tiwari | New Delhi
Updated: 05 February, 2023 6:35 pm IST

Dr Krishna Ella, the scientist who returned from the US in the 90s to make vaccines that saved the life of billions around the world, on Sunday said that India as pharmacy of the world must not be seen in a bad light because of the mistakes committed by a few small firms.

Dr Ella, who co-founded Cavaxin maker Bharat Biotech and currently serves as its executive chairman, called the death of children due to consumption of India-made cough syrups as “rare”.

“We (Indian pharma companies) are working for global health. We are helping the other part of the world, for example – Africa and Latin America. Today, we have 40,000 pharms companies in India. If 10 out of 40,000 people commit any mistake, you can’t say that all India companies are bad,” Dr Ella said on sidelines of a MoU signing event in New Delhi.

Dr Ella said that India of today is inferior to none and is fully prepared to tackle any future mutations of Coronavirus.

He suggested that state drug regulatory bodies should be with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for pan-India standardization of medicines. “Their merger will ensure one quality, one standard,” the ace scientist said, adding that the move will harmonize the process of drug regulation and monitoring in the country.

“Cough syrup is not monitored by central drug controller. That is one of the mistakes. Authorisation and monitoring of cough syrups are given by state regulators. If you merge them, all problems are solved. Some political will and commitment is required towards this direction,” he told The New Indian.

The Bharat Biotech executive chairman further said: “Since we are living in the Internet age and different people make different kinds of comments, people think Indian companies are bad. We have very good companies. Some local agencies are getting into trouble. It is not an India problem.”

Blaming the media for creating hype around some scattered incidents of cough syrup deaths, Dr Ella said that action against some Indian companies should not be blown out of proportion. “Western countries have also been penalised for quality and some other issues.”

Indian pharmaceutical companies came under scrutiny in several countries around the world after death of dozens of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan in the last quarter of 2022.

He said that India’s first indigenously developed anti-Covid vaccine, Covaxin is the most popular and demanded Covid vaccine in India.

Speaking about the lack of trust in some quarters of Indian society towards Indian pharma companies, he said, “When India needed a vaccine against Covid-19, many in India believed that an Indian can’t manufacture a good and reliable vaccine. But they ended up choosing Covaxin over others.”

Appealing to Indians to have trust in products of Indian companies, he said, “India has phenomenally transformed over the period of last 25 years. Today’s India is different. Now you see a lot of startups. A lot of changes are happening.”

He was speaking on the sidelines of an event held for signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between his Ella Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the US for cutting-edge research in the areas of human, veterinary, and plant diseases.

“University of Wisconsin is one of the best universities for research on humans, plants and cattle. They have produced the highest number of virologists. We felt the need of the collaboration because we released that we need to think as a strategist and start preparing ourselves for prevention of any such future health emergency or disease,” he stated.

Founded around 17 years ago, Ella Foundation funds researchers in the field of human science and publishes many research papers.

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