FDA suspends licences of Goa pharmacies flouting drug norms

PTI| Updated: Oct 29, 2013, 18:42 PM IST

Panaji: In a bid to check misuse of psychotropic substances supplied through various pharmacies, the Goa Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) department has started suspending licences of retailers found violating the laws.

Eight licences have been suspended for violating various provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945, during the current financial year till September 30, FDA Director Salim A Veljee said.

This was done after conducting 312 inspections and issuing show cause notices to 60 retailers, of whom 45 were left with a warning, he said.

The action comes in the wake of increasing possibility of pharmacies supplying psychotropic substances as an alternative to narcotics in the tourist coastal belt.

During the last financial year, 22 licences of retailers were suspended after 558 inspections and issuing 130 show cause notices, Veljee said.

The last fiscal saw 92 retailers being warned. Of the 22 suspended licences, six were from the coastal belt.

"Not all the violators were found involved in selling psychotropic substances without prescription but they were also involved in other violations, like running the pharmacy without pharmacist, not maintaining relevant statutory purchase and sales records for scheduled or prescription drugs," the FDA official said.

There were billing irregularities like not recording proper names of the prescriber or patient details on the cash memos, stocking of expired drugs, among others, he said.

A recent probe by Anti Narcotic Cell of Goa Police in association with FDA raised suspicion that medicinal narcotics and psychotropic substances were being pushed as an alternative to traditional narcotics.

Veljee said not a single pharmacy or medical store in the coastal belt has been issued any narcotic retail or wholesale licence and thus they are not allowed to stock or deal in any medicinal narcotics.

"But, they have been permitted under the regular drugs retails licences to stock schedule and other prescription drugs, which includes psychotropic drugs that require prescription from registered medical practitioner," he said.

The pharmacies in the coastal belt are thoroughly checked on several parameters so as to make sure that they don't double up as narcotic trade outlets, he pointed out.

During the coming days, the department will intensify inspection drive not only along the coastal belt but throughout the state to detect instances where pharmacies and medical stores resort to unethical practices, he said.

The department is also contemplating to initiate stringent action against such defaulters, which also includes publication of defaulters' names and their lapses in newspapers and other media, so that public is aware about such black sheep in the pharma trade, Veljee added.