CAG takes J&K govt to task for absence of drug testing policy

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Pardeep Singh Bali

Comptroller and Auditor General has strongly criticised Jammu and Kashmir government for allegedly risking lives of the patients due to absence of a drug testing policy in health department.

The report disclosed that there is no policy in place for testing of drugs before these are administered to patients. “There is no mechanism in place in the State Health Department for referral of samples by health institutions for testing to Drug Controller or to any third party accredited laboratories,” audit report reads.

In its report, the CAG has referred to “instances” where large scale drugs procured by the Health department were issued for supply to the patients before they were lifted for testing by the Drug and Food Control Organization and declared not of standard quality.

“None of the health institutions has a mechanism of regular referral of drugs/medicines/disposables for testing,” reads the report. The State Drug and Food Controller Organization had lifted 1833 samples from health institutions during 2014-15 for testing and out of these 43 samples were declared as “not of standard use”, the CAG reported.

However, it said, cross check of data in the sampled health institutions showed that 50.95 lakh tablets/capsules/injections worth Rs 82.74 lakh declared as “not of standard use” by the testing organizations had been already issued for supply to patients, thus putting their lives at risk.

“This happened due to absence of proper mechanism for monitoring of the reports once the samples were lifted for the testing as by the time the test reports had been received by the hospitals, the entire supply of the drugs/medicines had been administered fully or partially to the patients,” reads the report. “The lack of policy guidelines for ensuring third party testing of drugs/medicines procured was an area of concern which had resulted in issuance of sub-standard drugs/medicines for supply to patients.”

The CAG has also pulled up the state government for failing to prepare the purchase manual and drug formulary for the guidance of the health institutions even after the lapse of about three years of adoption of Drug Policy.

 

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