Gujarat is at the number one spot when it comes to manufacturing quality drugs in the country. At 1.69 percent of the total, it had the least share of non-standard-quality (NSQ) among states in 2017-18. In comparison, the national average of NSQ is around 4.62 percent. According to the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA), of the 3,616 drug samples tested for quality compliance, only 395 were found to be of NSQ. The state improved the quality compliance of drugs manufactured there — from 2.52 percent NSQ drugs in 2013-14 to 1.69 percent in 2017-18. Gujarat has been doing well for the last five years or so. The percentage of NSQ drugs has been around 2-2.5 percent compared to an all-India average of 5-6 percent. The regulator checks the drugs for quality out of random samples collected from the market. These are then checked for quality compliance and to detect fake or spurious drugs. NSQ drugs do not, however, mean that they are spurious or fake but only indicate low quality. Let’s say if a particular drug takes 12 seconds for dissolution, a NSQ drug would take more time, that is, 16-20 seconds.
This can be because of poor manufacturing, lack of a quality control mechanism, improper storage or packaging practices. There are a total of 37,820 retail and wholesale drug licensees in Gujarat. HG Koshia, commissioner of Gujarat FDCA, said that a recent survey by the Central Drug Standard Control Organization found that around 4.5-4.6 percent drugs in the Indian market are sub-standard. He added, “Gujarat has improved its score when it came to quality compliance over the past few years. This is important as the state is a manufacturing hub and medicines made here are sold across the country.” It is home to companies like Cadila Healthcare, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Intas Pharmaceuticals, Eris Lifesciences, among other, which have manufacturing presence in the state. Another survey conducted by the National Institute of Biologicals had noted recently that over 10 percent of the drugs in the government’s supply were NSQ compared to 3 percent NSQ samples at retail outlets. – Business Standard