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Gujarat FDCA starts its new food testing lab, but drug testing facility yet to commence

Suja Nair Shirodkar
Monday, April 13, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In a strategic development, the Gujarat Food & Drugs Control Administration (FDCA) finally started the operation of the food division of its new food and drug-testing laboratory at Delhi village in Patan district early this year. However, its drug testing facility is yet to start its operations, which is in its last stage, due to delay in release of funds from the Centre for its expansion work.

Following the Centre’s directive to the state drug regulatory officials, seeking proposals for fund allocation under centre's capacity building programme, Gujarat FDCA had sent a proposal to the CDSCO. Keeping in view with the regulatory requirements, they had asked for an allocation of Rs.100 crore, which, according to Dr Hemant G Koshia, commissioner, Gujarat FDCA has been stuck in a logjam due the bureaucratic tussle at the centre since the last three years.

It is understood that state drug regulatory agency has already completed the construction of the food and drug-testing lab. And is waiting for the funds to be released from the Centre to complete the process of acquiring latest laboratory testing equipment’s for its drugs division to start its operation.  Senior officials inform that considering that the equipments used for the drug testing are more advanced and high tech it takes more investment for the same compared to food testing equipments.

“We are keen to start the operations of the second drug testing lab in the state, as it will play a vital role in reducing pressure from the existing food and drug testing laboratory at Vadodara, with its capacity of testing 7500 drug samples annually. In fact, considering the urgent need to strengthen the drug testing capabilities further and to decrease the workload on the existing drug testing lab, we have sent a reminder to the CDSCO last month seeking clarification on the status of the funds.  We have always strived very hard to keep on upgrading our regulatory and monitoring set up to meet the ever -growing regulatory challenges. Thus all our focus at this point is directed towards infrastructural development, gaining latest medical and laboratories equipment for better and efficient drug testing and analysis, training of our officials and getting high-end computers. Thus we are really looking at utilizing these funds for the same and hope that the centre would not delay it any further,” stressed Dr Koshia.

He informed that the CDSCO has assured them full support on this subject and has already pursued this matter with the health ministry. In fact, reports suggest that the health ministry may soon release  funds allocated under the 12th Five-Year Plan for up gradation of the regulatory agencies.

Interestingly, the existing drug testing lab tests around 6000 to 6500 samples in a year. Apart from the existing food and drug testing laboratory, there are two dedicated food testing laboratories in Rajkot and Bhuj respectively.


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