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Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad Ghulam Nabi Azad Visits US FDA headquarters Sh. Azad Stresses on Importance of Collaboration with US in Food and Drug Regulation

(Press Information Bureau)

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri. Ghulam Nabi Azad has stressed on the importance of collaboration with the USA in food and drug regulation as this will provide exposure to the Indian regulators to international best practices in this area. Shri. Azad was speaking at the headquarters of the US Food and Drug Regulatory Administration (FDA) at Maryland. Sh. Azad is member of the high level Indian delegation visiting the USA.

Shri. Azad, while interacting with the high officials at the US FDA, highlighted the importance of drug and food regulation in the lives of common people and presented an overview of the Indian food and drug industry. He stated that the Indian food industry is estimated to be worth about US $ 135 billion. There has been rapid growth in the sector, especially the processed food industry, he added. Shri. Azad also said that the Indian pharmaceutical industry, estimated to be worth about US $ 20 billion, is ranked third globally in terms of its volume and 13th in terms of its worth. The Union Minister noted that India is regarded as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’ due to the focus on accessibility and affordability.

Shri. Azad also spoke on the drug and food regulatory framework in India. He explained the roles of the Union and State governments in the regulatory framework of food safety, as it is a concurrent subject within the Constitution of India. The role of the Central government includes making regulations on food standards and other quality parameters; playing advisory role in implementation of the Act by States and Union Territories; amending rules and standards; ensuring that the import of food articles is safe, wholesome and comply with the provisions of Indian Food Laws; and notifying referral food laboratories to test the samples, while the State governments enforce the regulatory standards by lifting samples for testing and carrying out other regulatory functions, Shri. Azad stated. The Union Minister also stressed on the need to make the regulatory mechanisms within the country more effective.