TN DCA asks state govt to increase number of zonal offices to tackle illegal cross-border sale of habit forming drugs to Kerala
In order to improve the efficiency of drugs control administration in the entire part of the state, the Tamil Nadu drugs control administration (DCA) has submitted a proposal to the state government for increasing the number of zonal offices of the DCA.
Currently, apart from the assistant drugs controller (ADC) office attached to the head office in Chennai, there are 14 zonal offices functioning in the state. In addition to this, one mobile squad under an ADC is monitoring the enforcement work of regulatory offices. Sources from the department said the director of the DCA submitted the proposal in the wake of increasing cross border sale of medicines and habit forming drugs to Kerala from various districts in Tamil Nadu.TN DCA director, M Sivabalan, said that he received a letter some months ago from the excise department in Kerala stating that unlicensed drug business was being done through the border districts, so enforcement might be strengthened in the border areas to Kerala. Although the director formed three special squads under Coimbatore, Madurai and Thirunelvely ADCs, the teams’ operations were found to be weak and inefficient and they could not prevent the unlawful activities carried out by some miscreants. If government approves his proposal, two zonal offices will be formed nearer to the border districts in the north and in the south. However, he said the new zones will be designed according to the number of licensees in each district.Talking to Pharmabiz, the director said the menace of illegal cross border sale happens through Kerala border districts only. The department faces no such problem in the Karnataka border or in the Andhra Pradesh border. He said although several letters were sent to the DC office in Kerala, the drug control officials there are not acting properly.As regards enforcement activities within the state, Sivabalan said his department sleuths have prosecuted 96 manufacturers and 487 traders for various violations within a period of 12 months from 01.04.2018. Based on reports from the state analytical lab, the DCA has suspended product endorsement licences of 96 companies for manufacturing and selling Not of Standard Quality drugs, out of which 29 companies are from Tamil Nadu. Seven cases of spurious drugs were also registered. Licenses of 34 retailers and 30 wholesalers were suspended.Recently the department’s staff strength has been increased by the government. In some districts, the enforcement operations were carried out for name sake only till six months before. After a reshuffle and fresh appointment of drug inspectors, the regulatory work was made properly in all the districts. Sources from the department said the senior officers are not getting promotions because of insufficient junior cadre officers.