Drug Inspection and Monitoring Evaluation System

The Punjab Health Department required a quality control programme to ensure availability of life-saving drugs and keep track of quality and affordability of these medicines. It also wanted to rationalise drug usage in accordance with the National Drug Policy. The department, therefore, wanted a system that would be effective, efficient and transparent. The system already in place, unfortunately, had collapsed due to lack of transparency and a proper check and balance mechanism. Launched in 2013, the Drug Inspection Monitoring and Evaluation (DIME) is a smartphone application developed by the PITB for the Health Department. The application facilitates drug inspectors to carry out basic functions like inspecting pharmacies, recording contraventions and taking corrective actions against offenders. It also helps them monitor and check registered and unregistered pharmacies, availability of standard drugs at these pharmacies and to ensure compliance with relevant laws. The DIME has geotagging options and facilitates authorities to monitor the performance of drug inspectors. The initiative was made operational in all nine divisional headquarters. As of July 2017, over 26,350 medical stores and 1,802 medicine distributors have been inspected. As many as 6,152 violations were recorded and more than 3,202 medical stores were found in violation of the law. As a result, 1,729 medical stores were sealed and the stock of 999 others was confiscated. As many as 322 manufacturing units across the Punjab were also geo-tagged.