Ahmedabad: To step up surveillance and reduce the time needed for detection of fake drugs, Gujarat Food and Drugs Control Administration (GFDCA) is developing `Quick Detection Kits'.

The project, taken up in collaboration with Department of Health and Human Services, the apex health body of the United States, is a first of its kind in India.

"A three-member delegation from Department of Health and Human Services, USFDA, is visiting our laboratory in February, when we would discuss techniques used for quick analysis of pharmaceutical products," GFDCA Commissioner H G Koshia told.

"The idea is to develop a quick detection kit for screening of pharmaceutical products, with the help of hi-tech gizmos based on infra-red spectroscopy principles."

Three types of very sophisticated portable instruments for on-the-spot drug testing are available with the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"Testing a drug is a tedious and cumbersome process. It usually takes anything between 36 to 72 hours," Koshia said.

An official estimate puts prevalence of spurious drugs upto 30 per cent in the over Rs 34,000-crore drugs market in the country. 

A task force on tracking of spurious medicines has been set up by the union government, with representatives of Health, Commerce, Law and Consumer Affairs Ministries.

According to the Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association, the union government has already mandated bar-coding of all drugs meant for exports from October 1 last year.

GFDCA already has an on-the-spot food product detection kit, which can detect 21 types of adulteration, such as urea in milk, argemone in oil, traces of metals in food, aluminium in place of silver foils, etc.

Also, it recently launched a toll free number -- -- 1800 233 5500 -- for registering complaints.

(Agencies)