'Many blood banks in U'khand running without licenses'

'Many blood banks in U'khand running without licenses'

A report by Controller and Auditor General states that many blood banks in Uttarakhand is working without licenses

Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Rajiv Mehrishi (PTI Photo)

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has raised serious concerns about the functioning of blood banks in Uttarakhand after finding that a number of them are running without licence.

The report, tabled recently in the Uttarakhand assembly, said 13 of the 35 blood banks in the state are operational even though their licences expired between six months and 20 years ago.

Twelve of the blood banks running without fresh licences are operated by the government while one is a private entity.

According to the report, only 22 of the 96 mandatory regulatory inspections of blood banks were carried out between 2015 and 2018 as per documents of the Uttarakhand Drugs Control.

Of the 13 cases of blood banks operating on expired licences, only one case was notified to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), it said.

The report blamed the state's licensing authorities for not conducting any checks or inspections at six blood banks.

It said that till June, 2018, though inspections were conducted at six other blood banks during which the officials had highlighted many discrepancies in their functioning, those blood banks failed to follow up on the inconsistencies and continued to function for different periods of time -- from eight months to 20 years -- without licences.

The CAG also came down upon the inspection authorities of the state saying that though they issued show cause notice under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to the erring blood banks, it neither shut down the blood banks that did not have permission to operate nor took strict action against those that had failed to act on its inspection reports.

The report mentions that the blood bank at the Pithoragarh district hospital was functioning for 20 years without a licence while the one at the Uttarkashi district hospital was running without renewing its licence for over ten years.

Of the total blood banks in the state, 20 are run by the state government, four by the central government, seven by private institutions and four by religious organisations, it said.

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