Maha FDA Dispels Absence Of Pharmacists In 127 Drug Retail Stores

Mumbai: In response to widespread speculation about the alleged absence of pharmacists in 127 drug retail stores, the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refuted these claims. The Maharashtra FDA has clarified that the misinformation stemmed from a lack of updates to the online database, a result of ongoing manpower challenges.

A senior FDA official acknowledged discrepancy in the data, attributing them to factors such as the relocation of drug retail premises and license surrenders. To rectify the situation and prevent further confusion, the FDA has diligently updated the online retail licensee’s data.

While Maharashtra has one lakh retail drug stores, Mumbai alone has 6510 drug retail pharmacies. The Maharashtra FDA, over the past six months, acted swiftly after inspecting 6779 drug retail stores in the drug supply chain. They found problems like stores not having qualified pharmacists, not storing medicines properly, and not keeping accurate records of sales and purchases.

During the massive inspection exercise, the Maharashtra FDA has also suspended 892 retail licenses and 1033 wholesale licenses. They also did 53 targeted raids from April to October 2023. In these raids, they seized medicines worth Rs. 2.85 crore from the hidden drug supply chain. The Maharashtra FDA officials also filed 28 FIRs for selling fake drugs and prescription medicines without permission.

Because of these actions, more than 30 people got arrested, and 3102 cases were started against those involved in selling fake or spurious drugs. They also improved quality checks, finding that 120 out of 3200 tested samples didn’t meet the quality standards as per the law of the land.

The Maharashtra FDA is also working to get more people on board. Currently, only 82 out of 200 authorized drug inspectors (DIs) are working. They’re focusing on getting more staff, especially in Marathwada and Vidarbha, where there’s a shortage.

There’s also a shortage of Assistant Commissioners (ACs), with 38 out of 66 positions empty. Maharashtra has 940 allopathic, 466 ayurvedic, 24 homoeopathic, and 395 cosmetics manufacturing units. The state has 57 public testing labs placed in strategic locations.

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