Ghaziabad-based pharma firm banned from manufacturing polio vaccines

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said it has banned a Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company from supplying and manufacturing polio vaccines after traces of type-2 polio virus were found in some batches last week.

“On investigation, it was found that in a few vials of bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) supplied by one manufacturer, there were traces of P2 virus. Following the report, the use of all the vaccine supplied by this manufacturer was immediately stopped in the country till investigation was completed,” a Ministry statement said on Wednesday.

“The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) immediately filed an FIR and issued notice to the company asking it to stop manufacturing and supplying till further orders. The MD of the company was immediately arrested,” it said.

According to the Ministry, additional legal samples of bOPV were immediately sent for testing to the Central Drug Laboratory in Kasauli, which confirmed the previous report of presence of traces of virus.

As per the Ministry, while the last type-2 wild polio virus case was detected in 1999, the last polio case due to wild polio virus in the country was detected on January 13, 2011.

India was certified polio-free in March 2014 and continues to be so.

Last week, three batches of polio vaccines containing 1.5 lakh vials were reportedly found to be infected with type-2 polio virus. However, in its statement, the ministry said that only “a few vials” of bivalent oral polio vaccine were found to contain traces of P2 virus.

The Ministry stated that to enhance immunity against type 2-polio virus further, special mop up rounds for administering Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) are being conducted in the specified areas to reach out to such children who may have missed IPV.

“In small areas where such vials were used, polio surveillance in environment and through stool collection has been significantly enhanced by the Health Ministry, with support from WHO and partners. This would provide immunity to all the children against all the three types of polio virus including type-2,” the statement added.

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