Two-Day International Workshop on Patient Safety and Drug Detection Technology began in New Delhi today. Organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, World Health Organization Country Office for India and Partnership for Safe Medicine (PSM) India, the workshop seeks to share information on the appropriate use of detection technologies, and discuss global cooperation related to the use of detection technologies to promote drug safety. This is the first of its kind International meet on ‘Patient Safety and Drug Detection Technology’ in the country. Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

Addressing the inaugural programme, Shri Bandyopadhyay said that India is now regarded as the ‘Pharmacy of the developing world’ and India is the 3rd largest in volume and 12th largest in value. “Our current focus is to strengthen policies related to drug regulation and the regulatory framework. We propose to augment the regulatory capacities, both in the drug and food sectors in the 12th Five Year Plan.” “I am sure the workshop will be able to provide a blueprint in this regard”. He added.

“Being a federal state where regulatory enforcement is done by the States, we need to ensure that we have effective systems in place in each State. We are going to scale up the capacity of enforcement at the State level during the 12th Plan period which is from 2012-17” said Dr Arun Kumar Panda, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Addressing the inaugural programme, Shri P. K. Pradhan, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare said that “there is need to build the capacity of the drug regulatory authorities, for enhanced detection of spurious medicines.” “There is also a need to further strengthen the efforts, create a database, step up vigilance, strengthen laboratories in the country, including spreading awareness about the antimicrobial resistance etc. amongst the consumers, and to further develop brand India,” he added.

“Stringent regulatory control of medicines and enforcement by national medicines regulatory authorities can contribute significantly to prevention and detection of spurious medicines”, said Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India.

Dr Jagdish Prasad, DGHS, Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in his address, highlighted the public health impact of spurious medicines.

Shri Bejon Misra, Founder Director, Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India said, “Monitoring of, and control over the pharmaceuticals ought to be more stringent since it concerns health of the citizens and especially in those cases where even minor lapses can lead to losses of life. But, unfortunately we, in India do not have adequate regulations to check such malpractices. The industry uses technology only to check brand protection and market share. That has to change in the interest for consumers.

It may be mentioned that spurious medicines pose a public health risk. The Mashelkar Committee Report in 2003 highlighted the issue of spurious medicines and made proposals to upgrade the Indian Drug Regulatory Standards and Guidelines to international standards so as to tackle the problem of spurious medicines. These medicines may erode public confidence in health care systems, health care professionals, suppliers and sellers of genuine drugs, pharmaceutical industry and drug regulatory authorities.

Shri Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman of Partnership for Safe Medicine (PSM) India presided over the inaugural programme. Participants in the workshop included key Government officials, regulatory bodies and civil society groups. The workshop also witnessed participation from international speakers from WHO, EDQM, USFDA, NAFDAC, Nigeria, Argentina, World Bank, France, Singapore, USA, UK, Thailand and eminent speakers and representatives from industry federations in India.


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