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‘Making Healthcare Accessible to All in Punjab’

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Pardeep MattuThe Department of Health, Punjab, has issued instructions to manufacturers and wholesalers to supply habit forming drugs to the retailers/ hospitals on the written order and their payments shall be accepted by way of approved sources only, such as by cheque or by money transfer, says Pardeep Mattu, Joint Commissioner, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Government of Punjab, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Q How is the Department contributing to protect, promote and enhance health of people of the State?

The Department is ensuring safety and efficacy of drugs available in the market through random sampling adopting the risk-based approach. The drugs samples are taken on the basis of seasonal trends which are at high risk of deterioration. The Department of Health, Government of Punjab, is committed to let people avail free of cost medicines and consumables. Quality of drugs and consumables are ensured at the pre-distribution stage. Punjab is the only State worldwide, providing free of cost medicines and diagnostics facilities for diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis ‘C’ patients.

Q FDA has developed a web-based application of ‘Drug Information & Monitoring System’ to check availability of medicines as well as for monitoring of drug stores. Tell us more about the App.

The FDA Punjab has developed a web-based application along with its Android mobile app on a pilot scale to benefit the public on drug information and monitoring system to check availability of medicines at chemist shops. The pilot scale project has been successfully completed and launched by the Health Minister. The department is in the process of up-scaling the project to roll out in the entire State. This application will benefit the society in terms of easy availability and access to medicines. The regulatory authority will be in position to monitor the stock-in and stock-out of the drugs from the chemist shops. Further, this will be helpful in tracing and tracking of drugs also.

HealthcareQ Shed some light on the recent measures taken by the department to keep drug menace in check.

The department has imposed specific restriction on stocking and sale of indentified habit forming drugs such as Dextropropoxyphene, Diphenoxylate, Codeine, Buprenorphine, Pentazocine and Nitrazepam formulations by way of prohibiting the chemists by affixing stamp on the face of licences.

Q What guidelines have been issued to pharma shops in this regard?

The department has issued instructions to the manufacturers and wholesalers to supply habit forming drugs to the retailers/ hospitals on their written orders and their payments shall be accepted by way of approved sources only, such as payment by cheque by money transfer. Non compliance of the above said instruction will result in suspension/cancellation of licences.

Q What steps have been undertaken to discourage food business operators (FBOs) who are found to be selling sub-standard quality of food products like flour, milk and ghee (clarified milk)?

The FBOs and manufacturers have been apprised with the consequences leading to manufacture and sale of sub-standard/adulterated/ unsafe food products through counselling meetings. The sampling process has been geared-up and the innovative method of testing of Sub-Standard / Adulterated / Unsafe food products are under development process. The sellers/suppliers have been educated for ripening of fruits by using the incubators especially banana, papaya and mango etc. and has been asked to quit the use of intoxicating gases for fruit ripening. The adequate number of milk testing machines has been made available at the milk collection centres to access the adulteration and mobile testing vans has also been made available in the field. The State Food & Drug Testing Lab has been strengthened by installation of highend automatic equipment.

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