Karnataka government has sanctioned Rs 5 crore to set up the two additional Drug Test Labs (DTLs) in the State. These labs will come up in the North Karnataka region at Hubli and Bellary. This makes Karnataka possibly the only state in the country to have three drug test labs.

The Karnataka drugs control department had sent in a proposal for around Rs 15 crore as part of the budget requirements to bolster its drug test activities. Comprehending the need for additional Drug Test Labs in the allopathy segment, Karnataka government has acceded to the request put forth by the newly appointed Drugs Controller Dr BR Jagashetty through the State Health & Family Welfare secretary Madan Gopal.

The new labs will provide much relief to the State's drug testing activities. The Rs 5 crore is a grant for the phase I of the DTL project and will be used for the construction. For the purchase of instruments and hiring the personnel will require additional funds which will be sought. While land has already been purchased at Hubli, efforts are on to identify the location at Bellary. The construction is expected to commence in October and commissioning will take 24 months, Dr. BR Jagashetty, Karnataka drugs controller said. There are 205 units in Karnataka of which a substantial amount of manufacture is taking place in north Karnataka regions. The need for extra labs was imminent.

Present workload constraints permit only 2,300 tests annually. Going by the new drug introductions, the number of tests will only increase and there is a need to ensure speed and accuracy. Only additional labs can improve the situation, he added.