Health department has no policy for testing drugs, says audit body


Shock it may seem, but it is a reality that the state’s Health Department has not any set policy in place for testing of drugs/ medicines that are administered to the patients at various hospitals in the state. 

Pertinently, the testing includes making sure the medicines in the warehouse are yet fit for consumption, and to check the quality of medicines that are procured from different companies.

As per CAG Audit report such a kind mechanism is non-existent in the state’s health department, thus risking the lives on a larger scale.

“Audit noticed (November 2014) that no policy guidelines were put in place for testing of drugs before these are administered to patients,” the report said, adding that though the Rate Contracts finalized by various Purchase Committees for procurement of drugs provide for furnishing of the Analytical Reports by the suppliers, however, audit observed that there was no mechanism in place for referral of samples by the health institutions for testing to the Drug Controller or to third party accredited laboratories.

What is shocking is that the Audit has came across instances where large scale drugs procured by the Department had been issued for supply to patients before they were lifted for testing by Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFO) and declared as Not of Standard Quality.’

The Director Finance, in December 2014 stated that the role of the DFO was purely regulatory in nature and was restricted to lifting of samples on random basis by means of regular surveillance and of late, steps had been taken to enhance the testing capacity by roping labs in the Public sector.

The Director Finance, according to the report, further stated in September 2015 that the Controller, DFO had been made vibrant and proactive to ensure optimal testing of drugs/ medicines to the best of its capacity.

The Audit said that the reply was not convincing “as lack of policy guidelines for ensuring third party testing of drugs/ medicines procured was an area of concern which had resulted in issuance of sub-standard drugs/ medicines for supply to patients.”

Health institutions procure drugs/ medicines in bulk through approved Rate Contracts and from the local market. A policy mechanism of testing is required to be put in place to ensure quality of the supplies before these are administered to patients, the report observed.

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