Drive against spurious medicines being stepped up

Updated: Aug 24, 2013, 21:21 PM IST

Bangalore: Global public health organisation Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is stepping up its drive against spurious medicines by training healthcare professionals, patients, consumer groups and stakeholders across the country.

"We have evaluated the programme launched in 2010 to protect patients from spurious medicines and identified challenges in ensuring a secured drug distribution system across the country," PSM India Initiative founder Bejon Misra said at a national training workshop here Saturday.

The programme has also raised awareness and has become a model for other countries working to ensure safe medicines.

Drug Controller General of India G.N. Singh said that drug packs would soon bear warning labels in rectangular box with details of adverse drug reaction (ADR).

"A stringent regulation to this effect will be enforced in the next six months. About 54,000 cases of ADR were reported during the past 18 months. We are involving about 100 medical colleges across the country to create awareness about ADR," he noted.

Early this year, Interpol carried out a global sting operation on the multi-billion dollar spurious medicine trade, which led to seizure of 9.8 million doses of illegal medicines, shutdown of about 9,600 fake online pharmacies and scores of arrests.

PSM executive director Scott La Ganga said spurious medicines posed a global and borderless threat and could impact any consumer regardless of age, income or geographic location.

"We must protect patients by educating them on the importance of choosing safe medicines from secure resources. India has made a remarkable and measurable contribution in this area," LaGanga said at the day-long training workshop here on `Secured Medicines & Robust Pharmacovigilance`.

The PSM India Initiative is managed by a group of board members from various professions and the not-for-profit Consumer Online Foundation. It is supported by the union health and family welfare and chemicals and fertilizers ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO).