The government on gave its approval to move official amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Amendment Bill, 2005, which calls for harsh punishments to persons involved in manufacture and sale of spurious drugs.

The amendment bill, pending in Rajya Sabha, proposes to increase the quantum of punishment to a person involved in the crimes related to manufacture and sale of spurious drugs. "This will help contain the problem of manufacture and trade of spurious drugs," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The Bill proposes imprisonment for a term for not less than 10 years which may be extended to life term and fine of not less than Rs 10 lakhs or three times value of the drugs confiscated, whichever is more, for a person involved in manufacture and sale of spurious drugs.

The central government had constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of R A Mashelkar, Director General CSIR in 2003 to undertake a comprehensive examination of the problem of spurious drugs.  The committee recommended for the enhancement of penalties, setting up of special courts for speedy trials and making the offences relating to spurious drugs non-bailable.

Based on these recommendations, a bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 2003 and the bill lapsed due to the dissolution of Lok Sabha. It was again introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2005 and would help contain the problem of manufacture and trade of spurious drugs.