States must ensure special teams to prevent black marketing of drugs: Centre to SC
The Centre said that the DCGI has instructed the state governments that there should be zero tolerance to any kind of hoarding or black marketing of drugs and also to instruct their enforcement staff to keep strict vigil and take stringent action
All states must ensure special teams at different levels to “mercilessly clamp down” on hoarding and black marketing of drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic and send a clear message that “trading in human miseries” shall not be tolerated, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the Centre has said the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had communicated to all state drugs controllers (SDCs) that there should be zero tolerance to any kind of hoarding or black marketing of drugs and also to instruct their enforcement staff to keep strict vigil and take stringent action.
It said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has requested the state governments to take all necessary measures to stop black marketing or hoarding of drugs under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, The Essential Commodities Act and other applicable rules and regulations.
“The question of black-marketing is essentially dealt with sternly by use of police administration and local state administration. Law and order being a state subject all state governments must ensure special teams at state, district and taluka levels to mercilessly clamp down on any illegal hoarding or black marketing and send a clear message that trading in human miseries shall not be tolerated under any circumstances,” the Centre has said in its affidavit.
It said that enforcement actions have been taken in 157 cases across the country, which includes lodging of FIRs and arresting those involved in such activities.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, which is hearing a suo motu case for ensuring distribution of essential supplies and services during the pandemic, had on April 30 flagged the issue of black marketing of drugs.
In its affidavit filed in the top court, the Centre has said that sale and distribution of drugs are regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Drugs Rules, 1945 by the state licensing authorities (SLAs) appointed by the state governments.
“DCGI has taken a number of measures to check any hoarding and black marketing of drugs. DCGI had instructed all state drugs controllers (SDCs) on April 10, 2021 to conduct special investigation drive to prevent hoarding/black marketing on Remdesivir in the country and action taken is being foll