Steps Taken to Curb Expired Drugs Menace
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01 June 2011
By Pushpa Narayan
Unsold medicines will be cleared out of pharmacies within 15 days of their date of expiry and drug inspectors will be empowered to cancel trade licences of erring pharmacies. These are the recommendations of a high-level panel for amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The existing rules ban sale of expired drugs, but do not specify their disposal.
A group of senior drug officials from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab who met in Chennai on Monday also recommended that it should be made mandatory for drug manufacturers to track medicines and ensure they are destroyed within 20 days of the date of expiry. The medicines should be destroyed as per the guidelines of a state pollution control board and in accordance with the biomedical waste rules.
The committee was formed last year after the Tamil Nadu Drug Control Directorate found expired drugs being sold with new labels in pharmaceutical stores."That was when we first realized the loopholes in the Act," said state drugs controller M Bhaskaran, who retired from service on Tuesday. In the present form, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act prevents a chemist from selling expired drugs, but it does not insist on a time-frame for disposal of these drugs. The legislation does not specify penalties for the chemist stocking such medicines.