New Delhi: Preparing
to deal with any future chemical, biological, radiological and
nuclear (CBRN) incidents, Indian scientists have devised 16 drugs
that can be used for disaster management. These include an
anti-cyanide drug, an anti-nerve gas drug and an anti-toxic gas
Several radioactive decorporation agents and drugs for
anti-cyanide, anti-nerve gas and toxic gas injuries have been
approved by the Drug Controller General of India as trial drugs.
Developed by scientists at the Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied
Sciences (INMAS) here, the drugs have passed the efficacy test and
will be cheaper than those currently available in the market.
"Sixteen new drugs have been approved by the Drug Controller
General of India (DGCI) as trial drugs for disaster management.
These include an anti-cyanide drug, an anti-nerve gas drug, an
anti-toxic gas drug and several radioactive decorporation agents,"
Aseem Bhatnagar, in charge of the project at INMAS, told IANS.
These will be used as samples for the users, including the armed
forces, the paramilitary, the National Disaster Management
Authority (NDMA), the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the
Ministry of Health.
"Batch production of these drugs is being undertaken in
collaboration with the pharmaceuticals industry through contract
manufacturing. About 50,000-200,000 doses (licensed for human use)
are expected to be manufactured by March 2013," Bhatnagar said.
The DGCI approvals cover all-India use for 15 years for any number
Since there cannot be proper phase two trials of drugs useful in
disasters, their use in any future incident has been approved as
trial drugs due to a legality.
"These shall also be used for continuing clinical trials and for
stockpiling. This is necessary to effectively plan stockpiling
cost and perpetually (it is envisaged to provide the drug at cost
price to the users). The average cost price is expected to be less
than 15 percent of market price in all cases," Bhatnagar said.
Several of these drugs have been patented by the defence ministry.
"The contract has been given to pharmaceutical companies to ensure
that quality checks and pricing remains the prerogative of the
defence ministry. Besides, adequate stocks can be retained in a
cost-effective way and companies can initiate mass production in
case of a disaster without any time wastage," Bhatnagar said.
INMAS previously made and supplied drugs against nuclear,
biological and chemical (NBC) incidents during the 2010
Commonwealth Games and to meet an emergency requirement of the
"We also plan to keep some with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)
for usage during any disaster," Bhatnagar said.
Scientists say that research and development and coordination will
enhance the shelf life of NBC drugs by 60-100 percent and this
project is planned in coordination with other government agencies.
"A mission mode project is planned to establish nuclear security
in the national capital region by way of drugs, equipment and
training to six echelons of medical services around Delhi under a
project for seven years," Bhatnagar added.
INMAS had developed a skin radioactivity decontamination kit (shudhika)
that was given for production to a company in Pune.
"Its market cost is more than Rs.12,000 and we are developing it
for just Rs. 1,000 (less than $2). Five hundred such kits will be
made available to users, including the services, as samples by
March," Bhatnagar said.
(Richa Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)