Rein in pharma companies, PM Sir!

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Covid-19 has spelt doom for lives and livelihood. But it has come as a godsend for pharmaceuticals through millions of vaccine doses.

Covid-19 has spelt doom for lives and livelihood. But it has come as a godsend for pharmaceuticals through millions of vaccine doses. It must be remembered that most of the vaccines being used globally including India have been rolled out on Emergency Use Approval, without proper human trials on large number of volunteers, as they ought to have been.

This has been brought about by mortality associated with the pandemic mounting rapidly forcing nations to use these 'half-baked' vaccines on emergency basis to save lives. India manufactures Covishield, which has been accepted by 9 of 27 EU nations after initial hiccups, and Covaxin, which is vying for WHO's approval. India has also included Russia's Sputnik and US' Moderna in her vaccine bandwagon.

Drug firm Zydus Cadilla has now applied for Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine candidate, ZyCoV-D. The Centre must not allow pharmaceuticals' unregulated foray into the lucrative vaccine industry intending to make 'hay when the sun shines' sullying the credibility of Indian vaccines and India's battle against the pandemic, as it has enough vaccine candidates in its armamentarium already. India's drug regulator did well in that direction to turn down a proposal by Serum Institute to test Covovax vaccine on children, which it will permit only after evaluating safety and immunogenicity data from ongoing trials on adults.

Dr George Jacob, Kochi

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