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Even after four year, state govts yet to amend NDPS Act to bring it at par with Central Act

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Thursday, January 3, 2019, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

It has been more than four years, no state government has taken any initiative to amend Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Rules, 1985 in line with NDPS (Amendment) Act, 2014 introduced by central government to clearly define 'manufactured drug' and 'poppy straw' and exclude applicability of State NDPS Rules to essential narcotic drugs (END) and poppy straw produced from plants from which no juice has been extracted through lancing.

It will bring out clarity among law enforcement agencies like state food and drug administration and directorate of revenue intelligence.

The NDPS (Amendment) Act, 2014 has transferred the power to regulate possession, transport, purchase, sale, import inter-state, export inter-state, use or consumption of essential narcotic drugs and poppy straw produced from the plants from which no juice is extracted from lancing, from state governments to central government. The essential narcotic drugs include codeine, fentanyl, dihydroxy codeinone, dihydrocodeinone, morphine and methadone.

With NDPS (Amendment) Act, 2014, the state governments' power to permit, control, and regulate is restricted to only those manufactured drugs other than essential narcotic drugs and poppy straw from which juice is extracted, hence both the terms-- 'manufactured drug' and 'poppy straw' need to be separately defined in the State NDPS Rules, 1985.

For this, the state governments are required to amend NDPS Rules, 1985 but nothing has been done so far. Pharmaceutical companies have time and again appealed to the state governments to do needful in this regard, but to no avail.

The new Chapter V-A of the NDPS Rules, 1985 introduced by the NDPS (Third Amendment) Rules, 2015 also lays down the rules governing the possession, transport, purchase, sale import inter-state, warehousing, sale, purchase, consumption of essential narcotic drugs.

With this, the government had sought to maintain a fine balance between the easy availability of essential narcotic drugs for medical use and the required control to prevent their diversion for abuse. The concept of recognised medical institution has been introduced for stocking and dispensing essential narcotic drugs.

Such recognised medical institutions will not require any additional approval or licence to stock essential narcotic drugs hitherto required under the rules made by the state government. All hospitals, dispensaries, etc. run by government, municipality corporation, municipal council, zila parishad shall be deemed recognized medical institutions without seeking any additional approval. Further medical institutions in private sector can get themselves recognized by the state government recognised medical institutions.

On July 22, 2016 BN Sharma, additional secretary, Union finance ministry had dashed a letter to chief secretaries of all state governments urging them to ensure requisite amendment to State NDPS Rules in this regard. This will go a long way in augmenting the availability of essential narcotic drugs for mitigating the sufferings of the patients and treatment of opioid dependence, said Sharma.

Meanwhile the central government in a gazette notification on January 20, 2017 had notified the rules to permit, control and regulate possession, transport, import inter-state, export inter-state, warehousing sale, purchase, consumption and use of poppy straw produced from plants from which no juice has been extracted through lancing.

Despite the central government's efforts to simplify the regulations related to possession, transport, sale and consumption of essential narcotic drugs and poppy straws through various circulars, state governments' lackadaisical attitude in this regard has become a cause of concern for pharmaceutical industry, rued a representative from drug industry.


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