Unique ID for Drugs
In order to check the supply of fake prescription drugs, the task force headed by the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration has suggested that drug companies should start printing a unique ID number to help users’ cross-check through an SMS the identity of the drug. This unique ID shall be an authorized number which will assist to authenticate the drugs in the market. This suggestion is now awaiting the approval from the Union Health Ministry, which is expected to come soon with a two-phase implementation strategy, beginning with top selling drugs and then covering the entire market. The existing norms mandates that the drugs have the brand name, generic name, batch number, date of manufacturing & expiry, address & customer complaint details of the manufacturer. The new feature of ID code will enable to verify these details by sending an SMS with the ID code. This will add to the credibility and authenticity to the drugs.
PSA view – In 2011, the US Customs and Border Protection had declared India as one of the top three sources of counterfeit drugs. This easy and consumer friendly technology will be extremely useful in tackling the fake drug menace in India, which has been grappling India since long. Its implementation will be eagerly awaited.
IAP launches ‘Guidelines on Safe Injection Practices’
The IAP, along with a leading global medical technology company, has released guidelines on Safe Injection Practices (“Guidelines”). The manual provides rules for prevention of infection in healthcare settings in India. The purpose of the Guidelines is to ensure that the patients, healthcare workers, communities and the environment are protected from risks associated with unnecessary and unsafe injections, as well as improper disposal of medical waste. As per the IAP, the Guidelines provide an analysis of this problem and also provide technical specifications on safe injection techniques. The date from which the Guidelines come into effect are not known.
PSA view – As per the findings of a 2005 study conducted by IAP to assess injection practices in India, 62 per cent of all injections administered in India, were unsafe due to improper sterilization, reuse or faulty administration, making them a leading cause of healthcare associated infections. This is one of the reasons why in the last 20 years diseases like HBV, HCV and HIV have intensified. Though this is a welcome move, it is not clear whether the Guidelines will be mandatory in nature. Further, the effectiveness of the Guidelines can be commented upon only once the Guidelines are available on public domain.