Chennai : The Government of Jharkhand will hand over a drug testing laboratory ‘on the greenfield’ to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to open a Regional Drug Testing Lab (RDTL) of the central regulator in Jharkhand.

The CDSCO will gain control of the Greenfield DTL on September 21, sources from the drug control department informed Pharmabiz.

The state government has decided to do away with the DTL project because of shortage of manpower and inability to run the operation. Secondly, the state government owns a NABL approved laboratory in Ranchi for testing and analysis purposes.

Four years ago the Jharkhand government had completed the work of the building and other infrastructure facilities for the DTL at Dumka district, 278 kilometers from Ranchi, with the financial support received from the central government, but equipment and machinery could not be installed. Hence the laboratory could not be commissioned for the testing activities of the drug control department. Finally the government held negotiations with the central health ministry for opening a RDTL of the CDSCO which will hopefully create a win-win situation both for the central and the state. Further, the nearby states can also make use of the facility, the government hopes. On reaching an agreement with the CDSCO, the Central and the state health departments signed a MoU a few days ago and decided to establish the regional drug testing lab of the central government.

Sharing information about the new development, the joint drug controller at the Jharkhand DCA, Sumant Kumar Tiwari, said the DTL will be taken over by CDSCO on September 23 in the presence of the joint secretary of the union health ministry, Aradhana Patnaik. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr. Rajivsingh Raghuvanshi, DDC of the CDSCO, Dr. Eswar Reddy and the state drug control director Ritu Sahai and other dignitaries of the central and state regulatory offices will attend the function.

Pointing to the shortage of skilled manpower in Jharkhand, Sumant Tiwari said in almost all the states in the eastern part of the country no DTL is properly functioning in any state. The DTL in Bihar and the one in Chattisgarh are not functioning properly. The main reason is lack of manpower. Because of the same reason, years ago, the government of Assam handed over their second laboratory building to the CDSCO who established one RDTL in Guwahati. Similarly, the government of Jharkhand is also surrendering a building to the central drug controller to open a regional lab in the state.

“The ongoing project of the CDSCO in Jharkhand will help other eastern states, especially Chattisharh, Bihar and West Bengal to test their samples. The Kolkata RDTL is only a referral laboratory just for re-testing if the report is challenged by a manufacturer or trader. The government of India has now taken a stand to establish RDTLs in all areas wherever the labs were neglected for the last 75 years. Presently there is only one central lab in the eastern part of the country and that is in Guwahati which is benefited by the seven-sister states of the north east in addition to West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. So, the Dumka RDTL of the central government will speed up testing of drugs and pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and medical devices domestically manufactured or imported from other countries. The central government has a lot of experts and a pool of skilled manpower to run various labs”, said Tiwari.

The JDC said there are 45 drug inspectors in Jharkhand DCA and they collect 10 samples per day from each medical shop. The state has 35,000 medical shops and 48 allopathic manufacturing units, out of which three are major players and the rest are MSME units.