In J&K, quality of drugs ‘compromised’: Survey

by Zulkifla Shakeel

Srinagar

Despite reports of the whole drug market in the state of Jammu & Kashmir being under the mesh of poor quality drugs, the health department has not taken any concrete action to ensure quality drugs, at least in state-run hospitals.

According to a survey by the National Institute of Biologicals (NIB), Noida of which Drugs and Food Control Organization of Kashmir is a part, a considerable amount of drugs were found ‘Not of Standard Quality’ (NSQ) both in hospitals as well as in open market in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmir Drug Policy
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With 7086 inspections conducted of Drug Sale establishments in 2017, 36 drugs, out of 1096 samples were declared (NSQ) by Drugs and Food Control Organization of Kashmir.

A joint team of 5-6 Drug Inspectors headed by the Assistant Drug Controllers canceled Licenses of 111 medical shops and 260 were suspended for few days for various violations viz-a-viz non-maintenance of sale and purchase records, improper storage of drugs, unhygienic conditions of premises and non-issuance of bills & cash memos.

“Detailed inspections were conducted and on spot, instructions were issued to the druggists for strict adherence to the conditions of the license. Whosoever found running the medical shop without the license, was booked under drug and cosmetics act” said ADC head Quarter, Muhammad Younis Hazare.

Last year, NIB, submitted the National drug report to the Government, A two-year-long nation-wide survey, conducted under the supervision of the Central government, found that around 10 percent of the drugs in the government supply chain is not of standard quality (NSQ) in India. However, the estimated percentage of NSQ drugs in the retail supply chain was found to be 3 percent only.

Although Jammu and Kashmir was not on the higher side of NSQ, a considerable amount of drugs were found NSQ both in hospitals as well as in open market in Jammu and Kashmir. As per the survey report, 644 samples of drugs were lifted from the State. “Out of these, 32 were found NSQ” The survey also found that quality of drugs supplied to government hospitals were more compromised in nature than the drugs sold in open market. However, the survey stated that no drug sample has been declared spurious, “ the scenarios in JK with respect to NSQ drugs is better than many of the other states in the country, it has been observed during the National Drug survey that only 3.4 percent have been declared NSQ,” said one of the sources.

Kashmir Drug Policy
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The national drug survey recommended: “There is a need for government procurement agencies to revisit their procurement guidelines with respect to criteria for qualifying the manufacturers. The agencies should develop and implement risk-based pre-inspection norms for selection of manufacturers of quality drugs and adopt quality testing of each consignment from NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratories.”

It further added that government warehouses, medical store depots, and pharmacies should have adequate storage facilities and provision for temperature and humidity control, sufficient air-conditioned space, refrigerators, deep freezers etc. along with their annual maintenance contracts. “These facilities should be inspected at least once a year by a joint team of CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) and state Licensing Authorities (SLA). Alternatively, third-party inspections by accredited bodies could be considered, however, this will not be a substitute for regulatory inspections,” the survey noted.

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