The court also directed the authorities to fill vacant positions of drug inspectors within four months
Treating a letter to the court from S Kamaljeet Singh from Sangrur about spurious drugs manufactured in Himachal especially at the pharmaceutical hub of Baddi and Sirmaur playing havoc with human lives as a petition, the High Court’s first bench consisting of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice DC Chaudhary observed that there were only 16 posts of drug inspectors in the state of which 7 were lying vacant.
The court observed, “it is disturbing to note from the reply of the state drugs controller that though there has been periodical increase in the number of manufacturing units and shops during the last few years, there is no corresponding increase in the staff strength.
The judges noted that there were only 2000 retail and wholesale shops in the state in 2002-03 and now there were 5484; and there were only 50 manufacturing units in 2002-03 which had increased to 702 units.
“It was shocking to note that there is no corresponding increase in the staff under the Drugs Controller,” the court said.
Posting the matter for April 12, the court directed the principal secretary health to be personally present on the date.
In the letter to the chief justice, Kamaljeet had stated that in the name of ‘Effective monitoring system’, the government had placed a skeletal strength of just a handful of drug inspectors, which was grossly insufficient.
He also pointed out in his letter that drug authorities from states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Rajasthan had raided the pharmaceutical units at Baddi to check manufacturing of fake and spurious drugs and blacklisted the units engaged in malpractices, but the state drugs authorities had a blind eye towards the same.
On October 26, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Government of India had raided a unit a Baddi manufacturing illegal psychotropic drugs, but the authorities at Baddi had failed to check and monitor such illegal activities right under their nose, Kanwaljeet mentioned in the letter.