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
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.