| The lab in Agamkuan |
The Combined Food and Drug Testing Laboratory in Agamkuan would be equipped with adequate manpower in the New Year to tide over a severe staff crunch.
The Bihar drug control administration has decided to increase manpower. Tenders would be issued in a week to hire drug analyst, senior scientific officers and technicians on a contract basis. The administration would also recruit a director for laboratory, a post lying vacant for the past 20 years. Sources said the recruitment process would be completed by March 2014.
Sources said the lack of sufficient number of drug analysts and technicians has hampered the functioning of the drug-testing laboratory. Till December 2 this year (according to data available with the state dug control administration’s office), there were 2,500 backlog cases. Though there are seven posts of technicians at the lab, it has only three persons working. Sources in the drug control administration said the huge backlog of cases triggers a rise in fake and sub-standard drugs.
“Around 10 per cent of the drugs sold in the state are sub-standard (having less therapeutic concentration to kill the bacteria or virus), while presence of fake drugs (nil therapeutic concentration) is .7 per cent. Drugs worth around Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 crore are sold annually in the state. Hence timely detection of drug samples is necessary. Only then we would be able to punish culprits involved in the fake and sub-standard drug business,” said Hemant Kumar Sinha, the state drug controller.
He added: “Though the presence of fake and sub-standard drug is not high in the state, it cannot be taken lightly as popping these can affect one’s health and even lead to death. Hence the drug lab needs to be upgraded.”
Sinha said tenders would be issued for hiring a drug analyst, a drug analyst-cum-director, two senior scientific officers and five technicians on a contract basis. “Initially, we would recruit all the officials on a contract basis but later their services would be regularised. We want to equip our Agamkuan-based drug testing laboratory to check at least 3,000 samples on an annual basis,” said Sinha.
Till the recruitment process is completed, the Bihar drug control administration would get drug samples tested from Hyderabad and two Delhi-based laboratories, apart from getting samples tested in its own laboratory in Agamkuan to avoid backlogging of cases. “We have recently sent a proposal to the Drug Controller of India to provide monetary help for construction of a new drug testing lab in the state. If the proposal gets the nod, the state would have another laboratory soon,” said Sinha.