Pharma weekly wrap: Major rejig at India drug regulator and Fortis key newsmakers

It was an eventful week for pharma and healthcare companies. While developments at Fortis kept unfolding – on regulatory front there were some interesting moves by the government citing public interest.

The government has announced a major rejig of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) – Indian drug regulator that grants approvals and monitors drug quality.

The government elevated S Eswara Reddy as new Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and relieved GN Singh from the post with immediate effect. GN Singh was DCGI since 2012.

Reddy – the first insider to be named as DCGI, has worked as Joint Drugs Controller before the elevation. His appointment as DCGI will be effective for next three months until a regularly appointed person takes charge.

CDSCO followed the announcement of new DCGI with transfer of 42 drug inspectors and technical officers, many from CDSCO’s headquarters, to various zones across India.

Deputy drug controllers from crucial west zone include R Chandrashekhar is now transferred to Goa-sub zone and A Ramkishan to East Zone, Kolkata. They will be replaced by PBN Prasad and Rubina Bose from CDSCO headquarters. The government said the shake-up was effected to strengthen the various zones and sub-zones.

Indian government has been drawing flak on quality of drugs sold in the country as its own studies found out substandard drugs and drugs not tested sufficiently for safety and stability have been circulated and consumed by patients.

The government on its part is trying to strengthen the regulatory agency by hiring more inspectors and technical officers, building capacity through training and conducting joint inspections and sharing knowledge with US and UK drug regulators on best practices.

A top-executive of pharmaceutical firm said expectations of Indian drug regulator have gone up in recent years.


The Fortis saga continued with InGovern Research, a proxy advisory firm, alleging that the promoters of Fortis Healthcare diverted the company’s money to fund their own business interests without informing the shareholders.

Fortis called the report as “misleading and done with questionable intent” and said it will take appropriate action on the publisher of the report.

Meanwhile, Singh brothers in a media statement said they are trying to resolve issues, not going anywhere. The shareholding of Singh brothers – the promoters of Fortis has failed to around 3 percent from 34.43 percent as lender invoked shares pledged by the promoters.