Substandard iron-folic acid pills given to women in Goa: CAG

A pregnant woman
Panaji, Mar 18: Thousands of pregnant women in Goa were administered substandard iron-folic acid capsules between 2008 to 2010, according to the report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

"Distribution of iron folic acid capsules is an important component under antenatal care aimed for safe motherhood and childbirth," the report, tabled in the Goa Assembly during the current session, says.

"It was observed that 5.29 lakh substandard capsules were utilised by the health units (primary health centres, etc) and only 1.43 lakh were returned to Directorate of Health Services," the CAG report mentions.

Food and Drugs Administration department collected samples on 10 occasions during 2009-10, and found that 30 per cent of them were substandard.

The report criticises the inefficient quality control mechanisms of the health department, adding that implications of consuming substandard medicines could be hazardous.

Folic acid is globally acknowledged as an important nutrient, as women who are deficient in folic acid have a greater risk of having a baby with defects such as spina bifida, a disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube.

"The distribution of substandard medicines reflected inadequate quality control mechanism and inefficient monitoring of procurement and distribution," CAG says.


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