Himachal: Ill-Equipped Lab Blunts Fight Against Spurious Drugs

Solan : The absence of a well-equipped drugs testing laboratory in the state is acting as a major impediment to timely testing of drug samples.

The drugs control administration here depends on the Chandigarh-based Regional Drugs Testing Laboratory and its “ill-equipped” Kandaghat-based Composite Testing Laboratory (CTL) for testing samples collected from 660 drug firms. Since the Chandigarh laboratory caters to several states, it takes around two months to test a drug sample.

This not only delays prompt action against those manufacturing substandard and spurious drugs, but also blunts the fight against the manufacturing of spurious drugs.

Drug inspectors draw samples from various firms every month, but the delay in the receipt of test reports delays the regulatory action.

Figures secured from the Drugs Control Administration revealed that 204 manufacturing premises were inspected in 2018-19, 195 in 2019-2020, 168 in 2020-21 and 300 in 2021-22. Fifty manufacturing licences were suspended or cancelled during this period for various violations.

As against 158 drug samples declared substandard by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation in 2022, the state authorities could barely detect only 32 such drugs. Absence of a well-equipped testing laboratory is said to be the underlying reason.

The state drug control administration has declared only 74 drug samples as substandard or spurious in the state over the past three years (2020 to 2022). Legal action has been initiated in 17 of these cases, while administrative action was taken in other cases. Since the state houses a big pharmaceutical hub in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh area, detection of substandard or spurious drugs has been besmirching its image nationally.

Drugs Controller Navneet Marwaha said, “The Baddi-based drugs testing laboratory will be functional soon as majority of the equipment has been installed. Its validation and calibration is underway. Two-three sophisticated machines are in the process of being installed.” Some technical staff had also been deputed, he added.

The drugs control administration depends on the Chandigarh-based Regional Drugs Testing Laboratory and Kandaghat-based Composite Testing Laboratory for testing samples collected from 660 drug firms. Since the Chandigarh laboratory caters to several states, it takes around two months to test a drug sample.

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