While looking for something else entirely, I stumbled upon information on the drug regulator CDSCO’s home page that appears relatively recent. Sort of a FAQ on the authority.
In spite of cringeing at the tacky slide show that hogs most of the homepage, I was struck by some of its contents. There’s a vision statement. And a mission. And values.
The vision: To protect and promote public health in India.
The mission: To safeguard and enhance the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and quality of drugs, cosmetics and medical devices.
Values : Independence, Transparency, Accountability, Punctuality, Courtesy, Responsivenes, Professionalism, Impartiality, Consistency, Integrity, Truthfulness, Flexibility. Ahem!
I’m pretty sure that Indian regulators don’t usually emblazon their raison d’etre on their home page this way. Nor for that matter do they feel compelled to wear their values on their e-sleeves.
Just to be sure I visited the websites of the Reserve Bank of India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Apart from having FAR better-looking and user-friendly websites, the purpose of their existence was tucked away discretely in the “About us” or “History” section and limited to a line or two. There was no “vision’ anywhere. I couldn’t spot any “values” either.
But then, there’s a difference. Their mission has never been called into question the way CDSCO’s has.
Readers will recall that in May this year a committee of parliamentarians had produced a virtual indictment of India’s drug regulatory regime squarely blaming it for endangering the health of Indians with its shoddy performance.
This group had been particularly scathing about CDSCO’s mission statement spelt out by the health ministry. I quote “to meet the aspirations…. demands and requirements of the pharmaceutical industry.” (Yes!)
This, and its revelatory findings, had prompted the committee to scathingly remark that “most of the ills besetting the system of drugs regulation in India are mainly due to the skewed priorities and perceptions of CDSCO. For decades together it has been according primacy to the propagation and facilitation of the drugs industry, due to which, unfortunately, the interest of the biggest stakeholder i.e. the consumer has never been ensured.”
Which makes me conclude that the CDSCO’s newly-minted mission statement (with vision and values to boot) is an attempt, however superficial, at correcting that impression.
The slide show is accompanied by a list of its initiatives and targets. It tells us that there are 208 vacant posts as of March 2012. That between 2013-2020, the CDSCO will create 1195 new posts and an additional 4300 people for new labs, training academy, mobile labs etc, plans an e-governance system, set up 8 new testing laboratories and upgrade the existing 6 and so on. You can read more here.
Now there’s only the small matter of living up to these promises.
Pic sourced from cdsco.nic.in