Brinda Karat questions logic behind closure of three institutes
CHENNAI: CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat on Thursday urged the Drug Controller of India to revoke the suspension of vaccine production in the BCG Vaccine Laboratory, Chennai, since it had already completed 60 to 70 per cent of upgradation required to attain standards, set by the World Health Organisations in vaccine production.
Ms Karat, who visited the laboratory, said the production should be resumed without any delay since 10 States were facing vaccine shortage.
Later addressing “Disease Prevention-Children’s Right to Live Conference” organised by the CPI (M)’s South and North Chennai district units, Ms. Karat said she was able to see for herself that the issues raised by the WHO had been addressed and rectified in the BCG Lab. “If this institute is able to upgrade itself utilising its own resources, it can certainly be done in the case of Pasteur Institute of India, Coonoor, and CDL Kasauli,” she said. Questioning the logic behind the closure of these three institutes and the argument that the WHO standards were not maintained and the vaccines produced in these labs were below standard, Ms. Karat wanted to know from Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss the steps taken to upgrade the institutes since August 2007 when production was stopped.
According to her, the closure was an attempt not only by the Indian companies, but also by the multi-national pharmaceuticals, to hijack the Indian market. It was an assault on our self-reliance, she added.
“Is it not a matter of regret, if not shame, that a country which is boasting about its talents, whether it is in the field of science or medicine and other technologies, is not able to produce polio vaccine for its children? But we are thinking about joining the nuclear club,” she said.
Regretting that the “country’s national prestige was linked to sitting at the galleries in the meeting of G8 countries, which are singularly responsible for the oil crisis by defending speculations on oil trade”, she said the Left parties would not allow India to be tied up with the embrace of 40 years of imperialism by operationalising the Nuclear deal. CPI (M) State secretary N. Varadharajan and central committee member G. Ramakrishnan also spoke.