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Scrutiny
 
PHARMA INDUSTRY: SPURIOUS DRUGS
Control, and Release
Spurious and Counterfeit Drugs are flourishing in India. Interestingly, Their Proliferation is aided by both the lack of Government intervention on one end and excess of it on the other
Issue Date - 18/08/2011
 
People take medicines to be cured of diseases; but the reverse is more of the norm, as substandard and spurious medicines are now widely available in India. A survey conducted by Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in India from 2006 to 2010 revealed that around 5% and 0.3% drugs are substandard & spurious respectively.

A raid by Delhi Police at central Delhi’s medical wholesale market, Bhagirath Place on June 3, 2011 and at Agra on June 8, 2011, brought to notice that 115 different kinds of medicines (worth Rs.4.2 million) were being sold without any licenses. Food and Drugs Administration Department also busted a major racket of spurious medicines at a godown in Kesri village near Saha Industrial Park and at a pharmaceutical company in Faridabad. Around 3.88 lakh spurious tablets have also been recovered from Lincoln Pharmaceutical Factory, Ambala. Although the Indian pharma industry is one of the fastest growing sectors, it is badly affected by this problem as the retail sector is extremely fragmented and unorganised. There are over 800,000 pharma retailers across the country, but the organized sector accounts for merely 2-3% of the business. Ranbaxy’s Fortis, Pantaloon’s Tulsi, Apollo Pharmacy et al are some of the few handful of organised pharmacy retailers in the business.

So is the answer forcing all unorganized pharmacists to sell off to an organized retailer? Not at all. Under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, a drug retailing shop can be run only by a pharmacist and only after procuring a valid drug retailing license. The government should enforce this rule strictly keeping a tab on all pharmacists; yet, should allow liberal dispensation of drug retailing licenses to ensure increased legal sales of drugs.

 

Amir Hossain           

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