Gujarat takes lead to resolve pending cases on food adulteration

In a first for food safety measures in the country, the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Authority (FDCA) said it has dispensed 1,400 long-pending cases under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) in a single day through special courts.

Dr H. G. Koshia, Commissioner, Gujarat FDCA, said the state has set a benchmark for the entire nation by setting up special courts to dispense 1,400 cases in a single day.

“The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued an advisory to all the state Food Safety Commissioners to hasten the disposal of cases. Nearly a year ago, there was a Supreme Court judgement on the matter. But no state had acted, except Gujarat. On October 9, we had a special sitting and with the help of my government, my team and the Gujarat High Court, we dispensed 1,400 cases in one single day. This is a first in the country,” Koshia said at the inauguration of the 8th edition of Pharmac India 2017 in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

He further added that faster disposal resulted in nearly Rs. 1.25 crore being added to government coffers by way of paid penalties after resolution. Of the 4,800 old PFA cases in Gujarat, 3,881 cases were found to be trivial mistakes after analysis.

According to Koshia, the pharma manufacturers in Gujarat have improved on quality parameters. Compared to a national failure ratio of 2.3 per cent currently (which was 12 per cent a few years back), Gujarat has a failure ratio of 1.8 per cent.

Moreover, the number of pharmaceutical manufacturing units is slated to rise as GST has unveiled a neutral playing field for the industry. And the state’s contribution to national pharma market is likely to increase to 40 per cent from 33 per cent by 2020 following the benefits of GST.

Deepnath Roy Chowdhury, National President, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), pointed out some regulatory challenges in the current market scenario. “Apart from pricing regulations and regulatory changes, if a company wants to launch products, it has to check if it is within the parameters of a certified formulation of The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation. There is also a proposal to print ex-factory prices on drugs and replace gelatin capsules with cellulose. We understand that a revised draft of the Pharma Policy is being prepared.”

Pharmaceutical exports from the country stand at Rs. 1 lakh crore. By 2025, the market is on its way to touch $100 billion. In its eighth edition, Pharmac will have industry-specific conferences and seminars during November 7-9.

Source: Business Line

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