Date: 15-Jan-2020

Maharashtra FDA lab investigations reveal only 232 NSQ drug samples found in 2019

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s state-wise lab investigations in 34 districts have revealed that only 232 drug samples were found to be not-of-standard quality (NSQ) in 2019 as per the recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. This according to experts is very minuscule as Maharashtra represents more than 12 per cent of the over 1 lakh crore total pharmaceutical business in the state. Besides this, more than 65,000 different brands of medicines of 5,000 pharmaceutical companies in Maharashtra are sold through 90,000 retail and wholesale licensees. This comes at a time when the state FDA has started testing around 30 samples at the newly set up Nagpur lab on a daily basis with lab staff from Aurangabad and Mumbai based testing labs. Earlier, Maharashtra FDA had only two drug testing laboratories one at Mumbai and another at Aurangabad. Centre had sanctioned Rs.138 crore for strengthening drug regulatory system in the state and funds to the tune of Rs.17 crore were sanctioned for the Nagpur project to strengthen labs and manpower. Besides Nagpur lab which has also got NABL accreditation, all the labs in Mumbai, Aurangabad and Nagpur are getting upgraded, according to officials. The officials further explain that with the up gradation of labs, drawing drug samples, analysing them for safety and drug recall will become easy. The construction for the first of its kind rapid microbiological testing lab at a cost of Rs.4.5 crore is also nearing completion at the Mumbai FDA headquarters. Union health ministry is also in the process of setting up eight mini drug testing labs in the country as part of its mandate to control exports and imports of spurious drugs. Health ministry plan includes setting up of mini-drug testing labs at Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai. According to the plan, labs will be equipped with advanced analytical modalities like AAS, GC, HPLC, IR and NIRS among others for effective detection, analysis and reporting on drug quality.