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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Recently, former Director General of Pharmexcil Dr. P V Appaji has come out with a proposal to form an overarching controlling and regulating administrative cadre mechanism to regulate and control the entire pharma and allied sectors in the country. The mechanism should be on the lines of the national civil services cadres like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). Dr. Appaji, who has decades of experience in enforcement of drug laws, stressed that an administrative cadre, Indian Pharmaceutical Service or IPhS, on the lines of IAS, IFS and IPS, is essential to manage, control and regulate all sectors connected with pharma industry. Last year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Union Health Ministry had joined the bandwagon of country’s doctors calling for the creation of an Indian Medical Services (IMS) on the lines of IAS, IPS and IFS. Appreciating and recognising the role of doctors as corona warriors in combating Covid-19, the Parliamentary panel headed by Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Verma in its report tabled in Parliament had noted that creation of such a cadre would be handy for the implementation of various flagship programmes of the government related to health. The Parliamentary panel’s views were in consonance with the Indian Medical Association and The Federation of Resident Doctors Association which have long been demanding for setting up such an exclusive Service to bring about a drastic change in the healthcare sector. Besides, as early as in 1961, the Mudaliar Committee in its report had also recommended to the government for the formation of a central healthcare cadre.

Of course, formation of exclusive administrative cadre services will bring about the much needed uniformity in regulation and enforcement of laws across the nation to improve the standards of the pharmaceutical and related sectors in the country. It is not that the government is not seized of the issue. In fact, successive governments have looked at this issue of creation of an Indian Medical Services on the lines of IAS, IPS and IFS, but there has not been much progress on this front so far. In fact, in 2017, the Central government had expressed its interest in creating the Indian Medical Service on the lines of IAS and IPS. Following this, the health ministry had sent a circular to the states asking for their views on such a move. However, even after years, no further action has been taken with regard to the formation of an administrative cadre for health sector. Now, the issue has once again been triggered by Dr. Appaji. As he rightly pointed out, the time has totally changed everywhere and in India too so many developments in technology, information and innovations are taking place. Along with changes in the operations of the industry, there should be changes in the policies and norms also. The conventional system of enforcement of laws needs to be changed, without compromising on the quality of the products. The officers, the governments and the think tanks must understand the changes and conform to the modifications happening everywhere in the industry and business. In place of drug regulators, the pharma industry in the country today needs industry-friendly supervisors and educators. The officers can regulate the industry in a way to facilitate them to grow and strengthen, and not for weakening the industry. Under this background, the creation of administrative cadre for pharma and related sectors such as medical services could be a game-changer as it would bridge the gap between decision-making and delivery.


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