Sharing a report with the Lok Sabha, Minister for Health & Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad highlighted the shortage of drug inspectors in the country and the efforts to solve this issue.
An Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr RA Mashelkar, then DG, CSIR was set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for comprehensive examination of Drug Regulatory issues in the country. In 2003 the committee submitted report and pointed out the problems in the drugs regulatory system in the country mentioning inadequate or weak drug control infrastructure at the State and Central level, inadequate drugs testing facilities, shortage of drug inspectors, non-uniformity of enforcement, lack of specially trained cadres for specialised regulatory areas and non-existence of data bank and non-availability of accurate information.
The committee recommended the strengthening of drug control organisations for effective implementation of the law. It has also recommended that the requirement of appropriate staff could be considered as 1 inspector for 50 manufacturing units and 1 inspector for 200 sales units.
Faced with the aforesaid deficient status of the State drug control departments, the Central Government has envisaged a Centrally Sponsored Scheme during the 12th Five Year Plan to help them in upgrading their infrastructure, both physical and human resources.
The Scheme would be funded by the Centre and the States. During the financial year 2012-2013, a token provision of Rs 2 crore has been kept in the budget of the Ministry for the purpose. The required interventions in the direction of strengthening the infrastructure of State drug control departments will include strengthening of manpower, strengthening of physical infrastructure, reviving non-operational / partly operational drug testing facilities to enhance their capacity, sharing information about drugs and sub-standard drugs with the drugs controllers of other States/UTs, providing training to enforcement officials and creating data base on drug regulation and introducing IT enabled services.
EP News Bureau – Mumbai