'State testing 2,000 drug samples for quality'

'State testing 2,000 drug samples for quality'

 The Drugs Control Department of Karnataka is testing 2,000 drug samples for quality as part of a nationwide survey, said Raghuram Bhandari, Drugs Controller.

Speaking at the inauguration of a seminar on ‘Safe Medicine’ organised by the Christian Medical Association of India in the City on Monday, Bhandari said the drug testing was part of a first-of-its-kind nationwide survey. “This is being done on the lines of a study designed by the Indian Statistical Institute. As many as 45,000 samples have been collected from 676 districts across the country. This will give an indication of the percentage of non-standard drugs in the market,” he said.

So far, 58 manufacturers have been prosecuted in the State for producing spurious drugs. He said rumours of a large number of spurious drugs circulating in the market were doing the rounds, but statistics were not available to substantiate it.

On the death of two children at Sushrutha Hospital in Yelahanka, Bhandari said, “There is no evidence yet that spurious drugs lead to these deaths. One of the vaccines was tested and it is found to have met all standards. Lab reports on the other are awaited.”

Dr V K Subburaj, secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, said even when medical error would have led to the death of a patient, the quality of the drug is blamed in a few cases. “By the time the results are out, people forget the issue. Thus, blaming drugs is an easy way out,” he said. For a country which is a leader in drug manufacturing, upgrading of technology and pursuing pharma companies to meet the WHO standards is important, he said. “We are in talks with banks to set up funds. They can also have programmes and funds of their own as the scope in this field is good,” Subburaj added.

Jan Aushadhi

To better promote generic drugs, there is a need to streamline the protocol system, he said. “Ideally speaking, other than the drugs that are imported, the rest should fall under the generic drugs category. However, in India, we presently have branded generics, trade generics and generic-generic category of drugs.”

Subburaj said the Union government’s Jan Aushadhi scheme had not been successful. “Even as drugs are available at one-third the price, there are no takers as there is confusion. Even doctors do not prescribe these drugs. The focus will now be to streamline this,” he added.

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