After hurriedly redrafting, the Union health ministry is learnt to have sent the Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill, 2007 on the formation of the Central Drug Authority (CDA), to the law ministry for vetting. After the law ministry's vetting, the Bill will be tabled in Parliament in the forthcoming session which is scheduled to begin on February 12.
According to sources, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had given instructions to all the central ministries to table all the pending Bills in the forthcoming Parliament session which will most probably be the last session of this government as the general elections are due by April this year. So, the government wanted to get the maximum Bills, especially all the controversial Bills, passed in this session.
Sources said that the ministry has incorporated the amendments suggested by the Parliamentary standing committee on health headed by Amar Singh which opposed the formation of a totally new central authority but called for strengthening the existing set-up to streamline the sector by setting up Central Drug Administration.
But, there is apprehension among the small scale pharma industries (SSIs) about the intention of the health ministry. They sense some foul play in the ministry's unusual haste in which the Bill was redrafted and sent to the law ministry. The SSIs fear that the Bill may be hurried through the Parliament just on the lines of Drugs & Cosmetic (Amendment) Bill which was passed in "one minute one bill" fashion in the last Parliament session in October, 2008.
They also fear that the health ministry may not incorporate all the recommendations of the Amar Singh panel in the Bill and may be passed in Parliament without any meaningful discussions due to the time constraint as the session will be a short one.