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As demand for quality drugs increases, lack of funds hampers safety revamp

Drug controllers state that cold chain facilities are not available, making seizure of drugs difficult

Veena Mani  |  New Delhi 

Drugs

As the need for good quality is growing in India, states are grappling with the lack of adequate manpower and other facilities that can make inspections easier. Until recently, the controller did not even have an office to operate from, according to a submission of the director-general of the Controller Administration of In a recent consultative committee meeting, controllers from various states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Odisha and pointed out that they were finding it difficult to strengthen the regulatory system as funds were not being released. These states and others manage the Rs 1 trillion Indian The numbers A Ravi Shankar, director-general of the Controller Administration in told Business Standard that the two issues confronting it related to human resources and infrastructure. “There is one inspector for 700 shops while the recommended strength according to (WHO) standards is one inspector for every 200 retail outlets,” he said. In Maharashtra, there were 100 regulators for 80,000 retail units and 6,000 manufacturing units, said an official of the Maharashtra Food and Administration. Apart from the workforce, the infrastructure to seize is also a problem. controllers state that cold chain facilities are not available, making seizure of difficult. Gujarat is another state that has a sprawling Its controller, H G Koshia, said here, too, there was a shortage of inspectors but the state was trying to adopt digital methods to inspect “Our position is not as bad as other states, but we are short of inspectors,” he said. There are 100-odd inspectors for 4,000 licensed manufacturers and 37,500 retail outlets in the state.

The ratio should be one inspector for 50 manufacturers. Lack of support from the Centre is home to many leading pharmaceutical firms, especially those that export Keeping the amount of exports from the the Visakhapatnam port in mind, a joint administrative complex was planned, but it has not been executed yet. This is because the commerce ministry has not yet worked out a revenue generation model or the logistics. The not sanctioning funds has also limited states in setting up price violation cells. Like Gujarat and Maharashtra, there are states where separate price violation cells are yet to be set up. The idea of a price violation cell was first mooted in 2015 by the department of pharmaceuticals to look into pricing issues. These states claim the has not yet released funds to set up these cells. The Budget has sanctioned Rs 2,060 million in 2018-19 to strengthen the safety regulators in states as opposed to Rs 523.5 million in 2017-18. Though the allocation has been increased, these funds might not make much of a difference unless the infrastructure is enhanced at the state level.

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 00:46 IST
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