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Terming Indian drug control as the "weakest in the world", a top government official today acknowledged that the industry is saddled with many issues and departments work at cross-purposes on key matters.

"In the entire world, I think our drug control system probably is the weakest today. It needs to be strengthened," Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) Secretary V K Subburaj said at an event here. Batting for quality, he said the health ministry is already seized of the matter and working on improving specific parameters, increasing the number of inspectors as well as drug control staff. Putting out a ballpark figure, the secretary noted that the domestic industry -- both pharma and medical devices put together -- has a potential to grow up to USD 300 billion by 2030, from the existing USD 32 billion, but would require a proactive approach to solve various issues. "Very tall targets unless we take proactive steps... The problem solving in this sector takes a long time... various sectors pull in different directions," Subburaj said. He singled out drug industry associations for working in opposite directions, adding that "if we take one decision, it is appreciated by one but the other one criticises us".

There are various organisations such as IPA, OPPI and IDMA, among others, which represent various sections of the drug industry in the country. Citing an example, Subburaj pointed to divergent views of various bodies, because of which the government took one year to come up with Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practice (UCPMP). "To take example of uniform marketing code, we thought we could arrive at a common solution. But even after 7-8 meetings, we failed to come to a conclusion. Its only now that we have arrived at a code," he added. According to the secretary, it may take years to implement the bulk drug policy. "We created the bulk drug policy, but before we could get necessary approvals, to implement it takes years. It is not that overnight decisions are taken because various departments pull in different directions," Subburaj said. He dubbed revival of PSUs as a difficult task despite the willingness shown by the government. MORE PTI MSS ARD

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