Serena Josephine. M

PUDUCHERRY: Despite a Parliamentary Committee's recommendation way in 2004, the territorial administration is yet to create the post of Drugs Controller for the Union Territory.

The committee, which was overseeing the implementation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in the country, had then emphasised the need to create the post of Drugs Controller and suggested, increase in number of posts of drug inspectors and provide facilities, during its visit to Puducherry.

“Nevertheless, nothing has been done so far. The need for creating the post of Drugs Controller has been pending for a long time with the government. The Drugs Controller will have overall administrative and statutory authority over drug inspectors,” an official said.

Another problem plaguing the Directorate of Health is acute shortage of drug inspectors. For over 600 retail medical outlets across the four regions of the UT – Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, there are only four posts of drug inspectors. Out of this, one post has been lying vacant for nearly three to four years, he said.

“There are three drug inspectors now but only two are notified, which means only they have legal powers to seize goods. One of the notified drug inspectors is for Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam regions, while the other is posted in Puducherry. With this number of posts, it is not possible to monitor all retail and manufacturing units,” the authority explained.

The directorate continues to have the Food and Drugs Administration in a single wing, even after the amendment of Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The wing has a post of Commissioner, which is held by the Director of Health, but it has not been notified. The post of Assistant Commissioner has been lying vacant for nearly a year now, following the retirement of the official. Even this was not a statutory post, sources said.

Officials are of the view that the department needs at least four more drug inspectors in the first phase as they play a vital role in conducting inspections at new retail and manufacturing units and take up periodical checks.