Himachal Pradesh CRI to resume vaccine production


Shimla : The central government has finally allowed the Central Research Institute (CRI) at Kasauli town in Himachal Pradesh to restart the production of vaccines for the national immunisation programme.

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“A decision for resumption of vaccine production at the CRI was taken by the union ministry of health and family welfare last week,” MP D.R. Shandil told IANS.

The licence for production of vaccines was cancelled in January last year by the ministry on the ground that the 103-year-old institute was not accomplishing the goods manufacturing practice requirements as per the norms of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The ministry has conveyed to the CRI for restarting the production of vaccines. It (the ministry) has also decided to initiate steps to modernise the CRI as per WHO requirements,” he said.

“The ministry is also considering the possibility to train the employees to upgrade their professional skills,” he said.

According to sources, when the licence of the CRI was suspended, the central health ministry asked the institute to stop the supply of vaccines worth Rs.20 crore (200 million).

When the ministry faced the shortage of vaccines in the country, it asked the CRI in March, 2008 to release the stocks in order to meet the demand.

Now, the decision of the central government to restart the CRI production is due to shortage of vaccines again in the country, said the sources.

Surprisingly, the central government asked the CRI to restart the production ignoring the shortcomings in goods manufacturing practice.

Before the ban, the CRI was manufacturing yellow fever, diphtheria, measles, typhoid and tetanus vaccines. It was the only producer of the yellow fever vaccine in South Asia and the major producer of the anti-sera.

However, the CRI is yet to receive any communication from the central ministry regarding the resumption of production.

“We (the CRI) have not received any official communication from the central ministry,” a CRI official said.

“The ministry might be facing difficulty in procuring DPT vaccine from private manufactures. Moreover, the vaccine is rather reasonably priced at the CRI,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment publicly.

However, CRI Director K.R. Mani could not be contacted as he is on leave till Jan 22.