SHORT­AGE OF STAFF: ONLY 23 DRUG IN­SPEC­TORS TO CHECK 25K CHEMIST SHOPS

Millennium Post - - CITY - YO­GESH KANT

NEW DELHI: Delhi is fac­ing an acute short­age of drug in­spec­tors (DI) to sniff out fake or in­ef­fec­tive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts. The Drug Con­troller Depart­ment, which pre­scribes the stan­dards of drugs, cos­met­ics, di­ag­nos­tics, de­vices and reg­u­la­tory mea­sures es­ti­mates that the state re­quires nearly 125 drug in­spec­tors for more than 25,000 chemist shops, which is just 18 per cent of what the depart­ment re­quires. How­ever, only 23 drug in­spec­tors are avail­able for more than 2-crore cit­i­zens of Delhi.

An of­fi­cial of the depart- ment said that Delhi has nearly 25,000 med­i­cal stores in­clud­ing blood banks, which are be­ing in­spected by just 23 drug in­spec­tors. This means there is no guar­an­tee that the medicine that peo­ple buy from a phar­macy is safe. The drugs reg­u­la­tory body does not have enough man­power to con­duct reg­u­lar in­spec­tions of the city's mush­room­ing chemist shops and whole­sale units, the of­fi­cial said.

A CAG re­port re­leased in 2016-17 also no­tify that as in March 2017, against sanc­tioned strength of 31 Drug in­spec­tors (DI), Drug Con­trol Depart­ment (DCD) had 23 DIS and In­dian sys­tems of Medicine (ISM) had three against five sanc­tioned post of DIS. Short­age of DI lim­ited their abil­ity to dis­charge its man­dated func­tions re­lat­ing to is­su­ing li­censes and in­spec­tions of drug man­u­fac­tur­ing and sell­ing units.

The DCD stated that the depart­ment was tak­ing steps to re­cruit sanc­tioned strength of DIS and req­ui­si­tion for ap­point­ment of six more DIS has been sent to UPSC in July 2017.

How­ever, the of­fi­cial point out that over the past 40 years, the num­ber of phar­ma­cies has soared from 5,000 to 25, 000, which is al­most five times. The sanc­tioned post of DIS has re­mained the same for past few years. Drug in­spec­tors keep a close watch on all med­i­cal es­tab­lish­ments in­clud­ing hos­pi­tals, blood banks, cos­metic units, man­u­fac­tur­ing and sur­gi­cal units, Delhi gov­ern­ment dis­pen­saries, Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment Health Scheme (CGHS) and ESI units.

As per the ob­ser­va­tion and guide­line of Dr Mashelkar Com­mit­tee re­port and Task force com­mit­tee's ob­ser­va­tion, there should be one drug in­spec­tor for over 200 chemist shops.

The of­fi­cial fur­ther added that drug con­trol­ling depart­ment is under acute pres­sure as depart­ment is fac­ing a short­age of in­spec­tors, who can keep a watch on medicines be­ing sup­plied.

“Even though we are fewer in num­ber, the depart­ment is con­duct­ing spe­cial in­spec­tion pro­gramme twice a week ev­ery month. Each drug in­spec­tor has to col­lect at least three le­gal sam­ples, 10 sur­vey sam­ples and two spec­i­men sam­ples. The main tar­gets are the gov­ern­ment and pri­vate hos­pi­tals and in a month there are about seven-eight raids,” the of­fi­cial said.

These raids are made under the Drugs and Cos­met­ics Rule 1945. In re­la­tion to re­cent raids made by the drug reg­u­la­tory depart­ment, the of­fi­cial said: "We have acted against 18 chemists who were caught red­handed sell­ing habit form­ing drugs such as Avil, Di­azepam, Prox­yvon, Tra­madol in­jec­tions and Corex syrup that leads to sub­stance abuse. We have can­celed the li­cense of shops in Ma­hen­dra Park in North Delhi, Vi­jay Vi­har, North West Delhi and See­lam­pur in North East Delhi.”

“We also keep a watch over the red zone, Bha­gi­rath Place, which is known for the sub­stan­dard medicine. Mean­while, no fresh li­cence were is­sued to the ap­pre­hended drug sell­ers. Shock­ingly, We found that even af­ter can­cel­ing the li­cence for a par­tic­u­lar shop in the past, the chemists op­er­ated with a dif­fer­ent name and con­tin­ued to sell the drugs,” he added.

Over the past 40 years, the num­ber of phar­ma­cies has soared from 5,000 to 25, 000, which is al­most five times

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