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Whistleblower scheme has no takers

Drug control

THE Drug Controller General of India’s whistle-blower scheme, introduced in December last year to check manufacturing of spurious drugs, has virtually no takers in the State.

Any person informing officials about spurious or fake drugs in the market will get a cash award of Rs 25 lakh or 20 per cent of the total worth of the confiscated drugs, under the scheme. Though officials claim that the scheme has been widely propagated, not many seem to be aware of it and few have made use of it. 

“We have not received any complaints from not only Karnataka but also the entire south region,” an official from the South zone said.

State’s plan
However, State Drug Controller Dr B R Jagashetty said the scheme did not consider State inspectors or government officers for the cash award. Since, substandard drugs were confiscated by the State drug control officials most of the times, it was necessary to include them. A CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) or government officer will get a reward not above Rs five lakh per case and a maximum of Rs 30 lakh in the entire service under the scheme.

Dr Jagashetty has suggested that the State government plan a similar scheme at the state-level. “I have asked the Government to allot some fund so that we can give some extra incentive to drug inspectors. We are preparing modalities of the scheme and the Government is also favourable to it,” he said. 
The State drug controller’s office has seized 156 substandard drugs of the 3,139 samples anaylsed last year. In other words, it seized substandard drugs worth Rs 38 lakh with 59 cases filed against unlicensed sellers in 2009-10. It also identified 14 substandard drugs out of 230 analysed in April this year. 

Staff shortage
Despite the appointment of 24 inspectors and 22 junior technical staff, the Drug Controller’s office is short of staff. The Government has sanctioned 60 more inspectors. But, the actual requirement was at least 150 inspectors with the ideal strength being double that, said Dr Jagashetty. At present, there are only 30 inspectors.  

The labs under Drug Controller’s office, including Bellary and Hubli, were operating with just 19 staff, which has now been increased to 41. However, the need is for 112 junior technical staff to help drug controller to analyse a larger sample of drugs in the market.

(Published in Decccan Herald on 2nd August, 2010)

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