KATHMANDU, Sept 30: Following the misuse of Department of Drug Administration (DDA) locker facility by a representative of pharmaceutical company, the authority has introduced a raft of new rules to regulate such facility.
The move was prompted by the arrest of Sunil Gupta, a liaison officer at Panas Pharmaceuticals, Nepalgunj, allegedly for hiding 22 grams of brown sugar in the locker inside the DDA office. Gupta had also stored 5.5 grams of the illegal drugs at his residence in Tilganga.
Following the arrest of his clients, who were found possessing drugs in small quantities, the Narcotics Control Bureau of Nepal Police had raided the DDA office and seized the contraband along with a digital scale form the DDA locker.
“From now onwards, representatives of pharmaceutical companies will not be allowed to use the locker or cupboard at the DDA office without the presence of a government official,” Narayan Prasad Dhakal, director general of DDA, said.
He also informed that the locker users will have to deposit their keys at DDA soon after the use and only one reprehensive will be allowed to use the lockers at a time. The entry will also be electronically monitored, according to him.
At the request of pharmaceutical entrepreneurs and production companies, the DDA had allowed them to store the samples pharmaceutical drugs and other relevant documents for the last 15 years. The samples of manufactured drugs should be submitted to the National Medicines Laboratory for test and analysis before the DDA issues the marketing license. The pharma representatives use the lockers during that period.
“We acknowledge that regular inspection and monitoring of the lockers had been lacking for many reasons. But we will be highly alert about it from now onwards,” the DG Dhakal said.
Gupta was found to have been misusing the DDA premises and supplying illegal drugs to his regular customers, DSP Apil Bohara of Narcotics Control Bureau, said, adding that the preliminary investigation showed that Gupta had been engaged in the illegal activity since past few years.
The police had arrested five persons for their involvement in smuggling and selling brown sugar on Tuesday.
Altogether 43.5 grams of brown sugar and Rs 68,000 was seized from all the suspects who were arrested from various places.
The police has identified the people arrested for possessing brown sugar as Suraj Sangat, Prakash Joshi, Saddam Ansari and Birendra Singh. A few months ago, bullets were found in a bank locker.