Upto Rs.25 lakh reward for information on spurious drug

November 3rd, 2009 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) Whistle blowers who pass on information about illegal drugs will be rewarded up to Rs.25 lakh (Rs.2.5 million), the union health ministry said Tuesday.
“The reward of maximum of up to 20 percent of the total cost of consignment seized will be payable to them (whistle blowers). The amount should not exceed Rs.25 lakh in each case,” said a statement issued here.

The scheme will be applicable to seizure of spurious medicines, cosmetics and medical devices. The identity of the whistle blower will be kept secret, the release said.

India accounts for 35 percent of spurious drugs in the world. Some fake drugs are passed off as life-saving ones and some as antibiotics and gastroenteritis tablets.

“With a view to ensure that the informers are not made to wait till the final disposal of the matter, 25 percent of the amount will be given at the time of filing of the charge sheet in the court of law,” the statement said.

The policy also kept in mind the fact that informers do not turn hostile during the trail of the case. Twenty-five percent of the reward money will be given after the case goes in favour of the government.

“The remaining 50 percent amount will be paid only when the case has been finally disposed of in favour of the government and no appeal with respect to the matter is pending in any other court of law in the country,” it added.

Officials from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) if eligible for the cash rewards will not get more than Rs.500,000 per case and Rs.20 lakh in their entire career, the statement said.

In July this year, union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had announced a whistle blower policy to involve public to provide information on any kind of unlawful activity in manufacture of drugs.

The Indian government in August had announced that offenders will now face life imprisonment or fine of Rs.10 lakh or three times the value of the drugs confiscated, whichever is more.

The cases will be filed in special courts that will be set up for the purposes of drugs related issues.

“Since spurious or fake drugs is a sensitive issue affecting the health of the citizens as well as the prestige of the country’s pharmaceutical trade interests, there is a sense of urgency in taking on the menace on priority basis,” a health ministry official said Tuesday.

“People’s participation is imperative in this regard and would be a highly effective step in augmenting the efforts of taking on the elements engaged in such illicit trade of spurious drugs,” the official said.

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