Drug maker arrested in mass sterilization deaths

Ramesh Mahawar of Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd, the drug manufacturing firm that supplied medication to women in the mass sterilization case that left 13 dead, has been arrested along with his son and charged with fraud. Police say they were arrested on the complaint filed by food and drug administration officials. Dr. RK Gupta who performed the operations in a breach of government protocol was also arrested, and he blamed tainted drugs for the deaths. Authorities are investigating whether spurious antibiotics and pain-killers were responsible but autopsy details have not yet been made available. The government of Chhattisgarh state where the deaths happened has appointed a retired judge to head an investigation into the deaths. Experts say the deaths are the result of a lack of medical oversight in India's broken public health system and sterilization targets set by the Indian government as part of its efforts to control its population. India has one of the world's highest rates of sterilizations among women as cultural taboos keep men from opting for vasectomies. In 2011-12 around 4.6 million women were sterilized, according to government figures.