All 31 Blood banks in state without valid licences

While people will observe World Blood Donor Day tomorrow, all 31 blood banks in the state are without valid licences, which are under the scrutiny of the Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFCO), J&K.
As per the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, all blood banks in the state should get their licences renewed within six months of its expiry. None of the 31 blood banks have, however, got their licences renewed for the last six or seven years.
A DFCO official said as the norms of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) were stringent, blood banks in the state were unable to abide by the guidelines and hence were not getting licences renewed on time. “The department does not immediately cancel the licenses as the blood banks are the life saving units in the hospitals. We give them some time to plug shortfalls,” said a DFCO official. He said in some cases at Kargil, Kishtwar and Doda, where blood banks were shifted to other building in violation of the DFCO norms, licenses were cancelled.
A three-member committee comprising a CDSCO drug inspector, DFCO drug inspector and an expert in the field conduct a joint inspection and take a holistic view of the management of blood banks in the hospitals and then release renewed licenses.
Dr Vijay Sawhney, Associate Professor and Head, Blood Bank, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Jammu, said complete data of blood bank renewal had been submitted to the DFCO and the renewed licence would be issued soon.
“The working of blood banks cannot be stopped as they have to work 24 hours and provide units to patients, besides conducting donors’ workshops regularly. Though we have sufficient blood units, the shortfall of Rh- is a common problem for which the hospital has to conduct exhaustive blood donor camps,” said Dr Sawhney. He said the state had 85 per cent population with Rh+ factor while only 15 per cent population had Rh-.
The government data shows that the licences of GMCH, Jammu, and SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, were last renewed on December 31, 2011.
“The renewal of licences of blood banks is a joint exercise conducted by the state and Central drug organisations. Though small errors and shortcoming are reported in every renewal, we have submitted our findings to the Centre,” said Surinder Mohan Tickoo, Assistant Controller, Drug and Food Control Organisation (Headquarters).
According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, blood bank licenses are valid for five years.
The Central Licences Approving Authority of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation renews licences after the state Drug and Food Control Organisation is satisfied and recommends the same for renewal.