The hour-long discussion, at 4th edition of Healthcare Sabha, was presented by Glenmark, a research–based global pharmaceutical company. The power discussion focussed on how hospitals should assure quality medicines to the common man.
Initiating the discussion Bejon Misra, Founder, Partners for Safe Medicines, who was also the moderator, pointed out that the quality of medicines is a continuous process. He went on to say how important it is to shift from assumed quality to assured quality of drug.
Misra referred to an incident where 1.5 lakh oral polio vaccine vials, manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based Biomed company, have been found to be contaminated by Type 2 polio virus. He said, “I look such incidents as a quality challenge. Such incidents happen as we don’t focus on quality. For example if ₹ 100 is spent on healthcare, then ₹ 40 is goes on paying salaries and establishment, ₹ 24 spent on nursing, ₹ 22 spent on OT and other processes and ₹ 14 on medicines. The element which needs to get predominant share in expenditure gets the least. I’m not saying that a huge amount needs to be spent on medicines but procurement should be based on quality standards and good manufacturing practices.
He asked the public health experts to share their outlook on this subject.
Taking the discussion further, Dr VK Shukla Director, Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), said, “When it comes to quality assurance of drugs, we need to strictly follow certain pattern like go for the first party license and WHO- GMP certified drugs should be procured. We in BHU give utmost importance to the quality of the drugs.”
Highlighting various incidents in which quality of medicines were contaminated, Dr Suresh Saravdekar, Honorary Sect, IPA, informed there should be a detailed account on how quality of medicines need to be checked from the initial stage till the end product.
Raising few concerns, Dr BK Mohapatra, GM (Procurement), Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OMSCL) said, “To ensure the quality of drugs, we do have a system to inspect all the drugs before it reaches the end users. But the constraint is that we have only one drug testing laboratory run by government in our state and reports come in late. In Odisha, we have issues like infrastructure, HR, which we are addressing. As a whole to ensure quality, we need to have more robust drug control mechanism.”
Further, AG Prasad, Vice President- Sales and Marketing, Glenmark, said, “Countries like Nepal and Bhutan are more stringent with regulations. They use products which are WHO GMP and COPP certified. Compared to them, the standards and guidelines set by Government of India is not stringent. Other challenges which our country faces is that we do only the quality test for drugs to check their potency. But we do not conduct bio equivalence, impurities and residual substance studies, as they are expensive. Also, regulators are liberal.”
Participating in the discussion, the delegates from the public healthcare unanimously agreed that investment on quality of drugs, and an in-depth analytical test report and good practices will assure quality medicines.
Prasad concluded the discussion by thanking all the participants for sharing their views on this extremely important subject.