The Indian government has decided to strengthen its regulatory mechanism to prevent the sale of fake medicines in the country.
The health ministry will soon introduce mobile drug testing laboratories for surprise checks of medicines available in the market.
The drug regulator, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), is working with institutions like Indian Institute of Technology and international regulatory agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and China's FDA to understand the feasibility of the project.
"We have discussed the proposal with the ministry. We are currently talking to various international regulators to understand the mechanism as it works in these countries. We are also talking to institutes here to get technology," DCGI GN Singh said.
The project has been already implemented in Gujarat and has received good reviews. The Central government plans to introduce such mobile drug testing laboratories across the country. However, it will be done in phases, said Singh.
In the first phase, the project will be launched in three states - Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, by the end of this year.
The mobile drug testing laboratories will carry equipment for primary testing of samples and conduct surprise inspections.
It is difficult for regulatory agencies to keep track of products that are sold in the market, especially in the rural areas. Though regulatory agencies collect samples for testing at regular intervals, the massive size of these samples takes a lot of time and resources.
The mobile drug testing laboratories will enable drug inspectors to separate fake and counterfeit medicines at the factory. Only the drug samples which are suspected to be lacking quality will be brought for further verification.