Zero tolerance against substandard drugs: DFO

Date:

Srinagar, May 06 : The Drugs and Food Control Organization (DFO) today rebutted the report, appearing in an English daily, ‘Kashmiris alarmed by white labels concealing expiry dates on medicines’, stating that regular surveillance is being maintained to check unethical trade practices.

In its statement, the DFO said that it has taken strong note of the news report while elaborately presenting an overview of drug sampling scenarios in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The enforcement staff is undertaking regular surveillance activities as mandated under the provisions of Drug & Cosmetic Act, 1940 and Rules there-under. Also, the empowered authorities appointed by the J&K government are following the directions of the Central Government issued under section 33 (P) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to deal with matters of drug samples declared non-conforming to the prescribed standards”, added the document.

It further said that the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir has adopted a zero tolerance policy in the matters related to reporting of substandard drugs.

“As many as 579 court matters are pending adjudication in various courts across the UT. The department has taken all steps to outreach consumers through toll free No.104 for expeditious disposal of grievances”, the statement read.

It added that as on date, there is no record to suggest that any complaint of such nature has ever been referred to the department for regulatory intervention.

Moreover, the statement said, the department has deputed a team to establish / ascertain the genuineness/genesis of the news article published in the newspaper.

The rebuttal, issued by the department, has briefly summarized the activities undertaken by it as under:
a) Drug Alerts are being generated & addressed to Sub-Ordinate offices of the respective divisions for immediate necessary action by the enforcement staff of the Organization. Drug Alerts are circulated via whatsapp groups / official email ID’s of respective divisional heads for prompt action.

b) Public Notices in cases of “Not of Standard Quality Drugs – Grossly Sub Standard” are being published in the daily leading locals of the union territory of J&K.

c) Center – UT & Inter-state communications are being shared to check the further prevalence & effective seizure / recall of drugs declared to be “Not of Standard Quality”.

d) Drug Alerts in case of drug samples procured by JKMSCL & declared to be “Not of Standard Quality ” by the Govt. Analysts of Drug Testing Laboratories are shared at this end immediately with MD- Corporation for effective recall of such products from supply chain for effective seizure by the enforcement staff of this organization at a single point.

e) The Drug Alerts are also uploaded on official website of the Organization in the larger interest of general public.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules thereunder identifies following contraventions and provides penal clauses as mentioned below:
I. Adulterated under section 17-A.

II. Spurious under section 17-B.

III. Any drug, other than a drug referred to in clause (i) or (ii) stated above.

a) The punishment with respect to clause i, ii and iii under section 27(a) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 is “ when a drug is used by any person for or in the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of any disease or disorder is likely to cause his death or is likely to cause such harm on his body as would amount to grievous hurt within the meaning of section 320 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), as the case may be shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than 10 lac rupees or three times value of the drugs confiscated, whichever is more”.

b) When any drug is deemed to be adulterated under section 17A but not being a drug referred to in clause 27(a) the punishment shall be for a term which is not to be less than three years but which may extend to 05 years and with fine which shall be not be less than 1 lac rupees or three time the value of the drugs confiscated, whichever is more”.

Provided that the court may for any adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the Judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than three years and of fine of less than 1 lac rupees.

c) When any drug is deemed to be spurious under section 17B but not being a drug referred to in clause 27(a) the punishment shall be for a term which is not to be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which shall be not be less than 3 lac rupees or three time the value of the drugs confiscated, whichever is more”.

Provided that the court may for any adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the Judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years and of fine of less than 1 lac rupees.

d) When any drug, other than a drug referred to in clause 27(a), 27(b) or 27(c) is manufactured in contravention to any other provision of chapter IV of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 or any rule made there under, the punishment shall be imprisonment for a term which is not to be less than one year and with fine which shall be not be less than twenty thousand rupees.

Provided that the court may for any adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the Judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than one year.

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