The government of India on Tuesday introduced a crackdown on doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who supply fake medical instruments.
India has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates, and an estimated 90 million people are infected each year with a range of respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and coronavirus.
The government is cracking down on those who illegally produce medical devices.
In its annual medical instruments report, India’s Cabinet approved a law on Wednesday to make it a crime for any doctor or nurse to sell a fake medical device.
The new law, however, does not apply to manufacturers or distributors of medical devices that are manufactured, sold or imported in India.
The Ministry of Health, in a statement, said the new law will be implemented “within a matter of months.”
It said it has directed the authorities to “take swift action against the illegal distribution and sale of counterfeit medical devices and counterfeit medicines” to prevent the spread of “harmful, counterfeit and harmful drugs.”
In a similar move last month, India announced a new $10 million fine for doctors who illegally sell medicines, and said the government will also seek to fine companies that sell counterfeit medical products.
But it was unclear how many doctors would face penalties under the new laws.
India’s government has already cracked down on some doctors who are involved in illegal sales of medical equipment.
In March, the government launched a crackdown against medical professionals and suppliers who supply medical devices to illegal distributors in India, according to the country’s state-run media.
Under the new crackdown, medical professionals involved in the illegal sale of medical instruments will be fined up to 50,000 rupees ($7,700) and will have to complete an education course.
The move was prompted by a spike in cases of coronaviruses, a disease that causes pneumonia and is transmitted by inhaling infected blood, in parts of India.
Authorities have also said they are cracking down more on counterfeit medicines, which are produced by illegal distributors, and will be tougher on those that sell them.
In a separate crackdown, authorities arrested 10 people in Uttar Pradesh state for selling counterfeit medicines in the state’s capital, Lucknow.
The state’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, also has vowed to crackdown on counterfeit drugs.