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Health ministry initiates sampling on spurious, NSQ drugs at 12 notified ports

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Thursday, July 9, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Following completion of sampling of spurious and not-of-standard quality (NSQ) drugs as a part of a nationwide survey on spurious and NSQ drugs, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in association with National Institute of Biologicals (NIB) has initiated collection of all formulations and APIs imported into the country through 12 notified ports. The survey is being done in collaboration with Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).

It is a pan-India project in which drug samples were drawn from healthcare institutions and retail pharmacies across the country to assess the quality of drugs available to the common man. This will be followed by testing and analysis of the samples and drafting of the final report. As a part of the survey, samples have been collected from 665 of the total 676 districts of the country based on a statistical design.

Collection of 43000 samples have been done successfully encompassing all the retail drug stores including government medical stores, CHCs and PHCs as part of the pan-India survey. Around 36,000 samples have already been sent for testing at drug testing labs across the country. There are 6 central drug testing labs, 3 state drug testing labs at Maharashtra, Vadodara and Karnataka.

An official associated with the development explained that around 1000 drug inspectors from across the country were trained for the pan-India initiative.

Dr Surinder Singh, director, National Institute of Biologicals (NIB), Noida, is the chairman of the committee conducting the survey. This broad-based survey would help in identifying the geographical areas where spurious drugs are available so that a focused monitoring is done by the concerned authorities in these areas for eliminating the menace of spurious drugs.

Earlier, a survey to assess the extent of spurious drugs in the country was conducted in the year 2009 by the ministry of health, which revealed that the extent of drugs found spurious was 0.046 per cent only.

The NSSO had asked the state governments to provide information to arrive at a statistical design for the survey like information such as the number of retail outlets (district-wise); information regarding the maximum prescription of drugs under each of the 15 categories including their trade name district wise; number of civil hospital stores (district-wise); number of central medical store (state-wise); and number of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) dispensaries throughout the country.

The CDSCO formulated the survey plan in consultation with NIB for conducting a scientific study on the extent of problems of spurious drugs and drugs not of standard quality (NSQ). Through this initiative between the state and the centre, India will now be able to project a clear statistics on spurious drugs, thus clarifying India’s stand on the same with scientific evidence.


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