Shortage of drug inspectors in Himachal irks court

March 21st, 2012 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, March 21 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh, a drug manufacturing hub in the country, lacks a mechanism to regulate the pharmaceutical companies due to vacant posts of drug inspectors in the state, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has observed.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D.C. Chaudhary, hearing a petition based on a letter written to it, Tuesday expressed surprise that there were only 16 posts of drug inspectors in the state out of which seven were lying vacant.

It directed the state to fill the vacancies within four months and directed the principal secretary (health) to be present in the court in the next hearing April 12.

The court observed: “It is disturbing to note from the reply of the state drugs controller that though there has been a periodical increase in the number of manufacturing units and shops during the last few years, there is no corresponding increase in the staff strength.”

The judges noted that there were only 2,000 retail and wholesale shops in the state in 2002-03 and now there were 5,484; and there were only 50 manufacturing units in 2002-03 which had increased to 702 units.

“It was shocking to note that there is no corresponding increase in the staff under the drugs controller,” the court observed.

The bench has directed the chief secretary to look into the aspect of requirement of staff, particularly drug inspectors, and submit the response of the government within three weeks.

The petitioner said the drug authorities of other states have raided the pharma units at Baddi, the hub of pharmaceutical companies in Solan district, to check manufacturing of spurious drugs. They have blacklisted the units engaged in malpractices, but the state drugs authorities have failed to do that.

Citing a case, the petitioner said the directorate of revenue intelligence last October raided a unit in Baddi that was manufacturing illegal psychotropic drugs, but the local authorities had failed to monitor such illegal activities.

The state has 702 pharmaceutical units, mainly in Baddi in Solan district.

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