Acute shortage of Officers in Maharashtra FDA

Maharashtra FDA is facing a massive staff crunch having barely 100 drug inspectors (DIs) to enforce compliance in 34 districts of the state.

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Maharashtra FDA faces massive staff crunch with barely 100 DIs to enforce compliance

With around 80,000 retail and wholesale licensees and over 1,000 manufacturing units in the state, the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is facing a massive staff crunch having barely 100 drug inspectors (DIs) to enforce compliance in 34 districts of the state.  

Compliance to norms are provisioned under the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act, Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 (DMR) Act, The Drug Prices Control Order 2013 (DPCO -2013), Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS Act) and new Medical Device Rules – 2017.

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In Maharashtra FDA, out of 8 posts, 7 posts of joint commissioners for drug section are lying vacant. Besides this, out of 52 posts, 24 posts of assistant commissioners are lying vacant and out of 161 posts, 64 posts of drug inspectors are vacant. Situation warrants urgent action as 5 new districts in Maharashtra does not have district FDA offices, sources revealed.

Drug inspectors are responsible for the inspection of manufacturing, distribution and sales units, taking drug samples for testing, conducting raids, taking action against non-compliance, following up legal actions, recalling non-compliant drugs besides enforcing DPCO and regulating drug advertising as per norms.

According to officials, “Recruitment of drug inspectors is a lengthy and time consuming process. Former Minister of FDA Girish Bapat had also issued a circular on March 23, 2017 stating that B Pharm candidates will be appointed as apprentice assistant drug inspectors for a year and will be offered stipend. The stipend amount has not yet been fixed. Besides advertisement regarding recruitment of apprentice assistant drug inspectors was also not been issued.”

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Maharashtra FDA had also sent a comprehensive proposal to the state government for recruitment of new staff across the state.

The state FDA had also asked the state government to promote Drug Inspectors to Assistant Commissioners level so that manpower could be upgraded and career progression could be ensured at the drug inspector’s level.

Maharashtra FDA has a total of seven divisions with seven joint commissioners respectively who are responsible to oversee compliance to the Drugs Act in their respective jurisdictions.

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