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Times of India
12 December 2011
By Kounteya Sinha & Mahendra Kumar Singh
New Delhi India

India is planning to turn on the heat on spurious drugs. The Planning Commission's working group on health for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012–17) has suggested setting up of mobile drug testing laboratories to curb spurious drugs' menace.

The health ministry estimates that 5% of drugs in India are counterfeit, while another 0.3% are spurious. A counterfeit medicine has no active ingredient, or is an expired drug that has been re–labelled and sold. It is different from a fake drug that may not resemble the original. Under Indian law, both counterfeit and fake drugs are described as spurious medicines.

The group has recommended setting up of eight new Central Drugs Testing laboratories for Rs 320 crore, besides upgrading the six existing ones for Rs 15 crore each.

Although many labs have facilities for testing of drugs (quality), they aren't equipped to test contaminated substance in drugs. It has suggested setting up of a state–of–the–art pharma research laboratory to carry out analysis of drugs at a cost of Rs 50 crore. The panel has also asked the Centre to create three new labs for Rs 60 crore for testing of diagnostics kits/ reagents and blood samples.

The medical devices industry's annual turnover is pegged at about Rs 1 lakh crore, and India is poised to become the hub of clinical research with a market size of another Rs 1 lakh crore. India's pharmaceutical industry has been growing at 12% annually and is the third largest in the world by volume and thirteenth in terms of value. Exports account for Rs 42,000 crore, and the rest comes from the domestic market.

"It is 8% of global production and 2% of world pharma market. One of the main interventions by the Centre should be to ensure that drugs available to the public are safe, efficacious and conforms to prescribed quality standards. The Central government should create new central drugs testing laboratories to strengthen testing capacity," the report of the working group said.

It also recommended regulation for the cosmetics industry, urging the government to establish five new labs at a cost of Rs 40 crore each.

Cabinet To Decide on fgn Docs Today

New Delhi: The crucial decision on whether to allow foreign national doctors to practice in India, besides allowing Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) to work in the country without appearing for a screening test will be taken up by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday.

TOI was the first to report how the health ministry's National Council of Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) bill aims to create an overarching body to regulate medical education.

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