The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) complaint against unnamed health ministry officials to probe whether there was any foul play involved in the union health ministry's 2007 order to stop production of vaccines by three central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) during the tenure of former union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss.
The CBI will probe if the order to stop production of vaccines was aimed at benefiting private pharmaceutical firms. The PSUs were supplying the vaccines to government hospitals that faced shortages as a result of the stoppage of vaccine production.
The ministry had then allegedly ordered the closure of vaccine production by three PSUs — BCG Vaccine Lab (Chennai), Pasteur Institute of India (Coonoor) and Central Research Institute of (Kasauli) — on the basis of a June 2007 World Health Organisation report, according to which these units were using outdated technology, said a CBI source.
The ban on the production of vaccines in these three PSUs that became operational in January 2008 was later revoked following an internal probe by the ministry, said the source.