Importance of collaboration with the U.S. in food and drug regulation was emphasised by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, as this will offer exposure to the Indian regulators to international best practices in this area.
Interacting with the high officials at US Food and Drug Regulatory Administration (FDA) at Maryland, Azad highlighted the importance of drug and food regulation in the lives of common people and presented an overview of the Indian food and drug industry.
Asserting that India is regarded as the 'pharmacy of the developing world' due to the focus on accessibility and affordability, Azad informed that the Indian pharmaceutical industry, estimated to be worth about 20 billion USD, is ranked third globally in terms of its volume and 13th in terms of its worth.
Azad also explained the roles of the Union and State governments in the regulatory framework of food safety, as it is a concurrent subject within the Constitution of India.
"The role of the Central government includes making regulations on food standards and other quality parameters; playing advisory role in implementation of the Act by States and Union Territories; amending rules and standards; ensuring that the import of food articles is safe, wholesome and comply with the provisions of Indian Food Laws; and notifying referral food laboratories to test the samples," he said
"The State governments enforce the regulatory standards by lifting samples for testing and carrying out other regulatory functions," he added.
He also stressed on the need to make the regulatory mechanisms within the country more effective.