Fake drugs from China getting into India
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Last Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009, 22:13
New Delhi: Spurious drugs in large quantities from China are finding their way into India setting off alarm bells in the government which has decided to crackdown on importers who were using forged documents and other means to sneak them in.

"There is an abject criminal and malafide attempt to import spurious drugs in the country originating from different sources and from different places in China," a senior health ministry official preferring anonymity said.

Fake drugs getting into the country every year are estimated to be in the range of a whopping Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 17,500 crore, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the size of the pharma industry which is about Rs 85,000 crore.

Very recently, Nigerian authorities had intercepted a consignment of fake drugs supposed to have been marketed from India.

However, a probe showed that the medicines had been manufactured in China and imported through India.

As part of its strategy to unravel the bigger picture of the spurious drug importers, the government has referred the case of recent seizure of fake drugs at Chennai port, imported from China, to the CBI which has been asked to go into its entire ramification and also nail the culprits.

A consignment of bulk drug valued at about Rs 72 lakh was seized by Customs authorities at Chennai after it was suspected to have been imported from an unregistered source originating from China.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad pushed for a CBI probe as the agency can coordinate with investigating agencies of foreign countries.

Health Ministry officials said the Chennai consignment comprised Progesterone (used for gynecological problems), Roxithromycin (antibiotic) and Cimetidine (used for ulcer).

The consignment with labels of Chinese companies affixed on them was imported by three Indian firms.

The Drug Controller General (India) has recommended prosecution of these companies as the original manufacturers in all these cases have informed India that the consignment does not belong to them.

The Health minister wants that a firm message be sent across the country that such unlawful and clandestine activities would be dealt with a heavy hand.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, August 10, 2009, 22:13

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