Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan (Photo/ANI)
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan (Photo/ANI)

'Vocal for Local' will be potent tool in fight against illicit trade, says Harsh Vardhan

ANI | Updated: Jan 21, 2021 22:43 IST

New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): Restating the call for 'vocal for local' (VFL) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that the Atmanirbhar Bharat and VFL could provide solutions to a host of challenges that lie ahead of the country.
Speaking at the 7th edition of "MASCRADE"-- Movement against Smuggled and Counterfeit Trade, Harsh Vardhan said, "The call for an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat and Vocal for Local could indeed provide solutions to a host of challenges that lie ahead of us. As India starts to produce strong domestic brands and gradually reduces its dependence on foreign products, avenues for profiteering by smugglers and counterfeiters will sooner become limited."
In his address, the Health Minister expressed pleasure that the 7th edition of MASCRADE will deliberate and discuss actionable, innovative policy solutions that can reverse the rising tide of counterfeit, smuggled and spurious products.

He emphasized the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and illegal operator of drugs and stated, "As we are all aware, amid the chaos created by the pandemic and the various policy responses designed to contain its spread, illicit players have used the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their nefarious activities, causing significant damage to the economy of the nation, health and safety of people worldwide."
Dr Harsh Vardhan added, "The aim of MASCRADE 2021 is to foster a healthy discussion on newer and practical strategies to mitigate the challenges of counterfeiting and smuggling especially in a post COVID era. Chief among them should be a focus on generating awareness. The pandemic has placed unprecedented demands on our health system. Health care providers are reinventing existing delivery models to bring healthcare closer to the patient."
He also called for a greater focus on coming together to address the growing hazards of counterfeiting and smuggling. In this regard, he said, "Businesses and industry must come together and partner with the government to become a greater force in fighting this growing threat with the ultimate goal of keeping consumers safe. The methods by which spurious, misbranded and adulterated drugs enter the distribution channel have become increasingly complex," he said.
Highlighting the areas that need attention, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, "Reviewing current regulations related to smuggling, counterfeiting and piracy, using the latest technology to aid security forces and enforcement agencies, raising the penalties for those committing this crime and allocation of more financial and human resources to counter this activity are some areas where adequate thrust can be given."
The Union Health Minister applauded the efforts of FICCI's MASCRADE and said, "I greatly appreciate FICCI MASCRADE for recognizing the work of the law enforcement agencies and felicitating the best performing officers each year for their outstanding achievement in the prevention of counterfeiting and smuggling, and enforcement of anti-smuggling and anti-counterfeiting laws." (ANI)