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Pharma industry in Bihar gearing up for ‘fast-unto-death’ agitation demanding removal of state DC

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Wednesday, November 25, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Aggrieved by the hostile attitude being meted out to the pharma industry of Bihar by the state in-charge drugs controller, the Bihar Drugs and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (BDPMA) is gearing up for a ‘fast-unto-death’ agitation on Gandhi Maidan in Patna in the first week of December, demanding removal of the DC.

Announcing this to Pharmabiz, the president of the BDPMA said that before going to the extent of the agitation, the industry leaders will meet the health minister, Mangal Pande and apprise him that the drugs controller Ravindra Kumar Sinha is not supportive of the pharmaceutical industry in the state and he should be removed. Because of his non-supportive attitude, the state’s pharma industrial units are in trouble, said Sanjiv Rai, president of the BDPMA.
 
“The pharma industry in Bihar cannot accept him as the drugs controller. He is incapable of doing the work of a DC. First, we want to meet the industry minister and the chief minister on their convenience and inform them about the plight of the pharma industry in Bihar. If the government does not take any action, we will hold a dharna on the Gandhi Maidan. Even then if we are not seriously heard, on the very next day we will go on a ‘fast-unto-death’ agitation. As long as Ravindra Sinha holds the seat of the DC, the pharma industry in Bihar will not grow. We are all in trouble, unable to do business. I am afraid that all the pharma manufacturing companies in Bihar will go belly up due to the arrogant nature of the drugs controller,” Rai said.

He said even the DC does not know what he is doing in his office. For example, in the Month of August he sent GMP and GLP certificates to one member of our association in Barauni and on the 14th of this Month he sent the same certificates to the same company in different language. Sanjive Rai has alleged that Ravindra Sinha is continuing as the DC because of his influence in the government. He is not at all capable of looking after the daily affairs of the drugs control office in Bihar.
 
The drugs controller of Bihar has been subject of various allegations since he took the charge of the DC and several notices were given to the previous government to direct him to act in support of the state’s pharma sector. But every day the industry association is raising complaints one after another.
 
In the month of June this year, when the spread of coronavirus was at its peak in the country and all state governments were taking all possible measures to contain the spread, the pharmaceutical manufacturers of Bihar had to approach the high court to direct the DC to grant permission for hand sanitizer manufacturing. The allegation was that the state drugs controller was holding up the applications for licences for manufacturing hand sanitizers. Later, on a complaint given to the DCGI by the Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA), the drugs controller general of India (DCGI) had to seek action taken report from the DC for failing to issue licences to the manufacturers.
 
In April last, BDPMA had lodged another complaint with the DCGI that the Bihar drugs controller was putting the industry into trouble by mandating submission of stability testing data along with application for renewal of manufacturing licences for products approved before 1988. Quoting CDSCO’s guidelines, industry sources said a stability testing report is required for renewal and issuance of licences for formulations manufactured from January 1, 1989 only.

Another allegation against the department of Drugs Control Administration (DCA) in Bihar was that it was least interested in initiating legal action against violators of pricing norms set by the national pricing regulator, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), although several complaints were lodged with the enforcement officials by public as well as NGOs. Sanjiv Rai said despite repeated complaints made by the industry or the public, the government is not taking any action against the DC who is taking advantage of the situation.

 

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