Even as fresh reports appeared in the Western media about the rise of spurious drugs in India, the Government has categorically stated that there were no reports to substantiate the allegations coming out still about Indian industry.
“There are no reports to indicate that availability of spurious medicines is on the rise in the country,” according to Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently in the Parliament. He also said the Government had taken several steps to check the problem of spurious and sub-standard drugs.
Very recently, a section of the US media had once again raised the issue of spurious drugs in India, in the backdrop of the visit of Margaret A Hamburg, the commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to the country. Indian Industry supplies 40 per cent of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs consumed in the United States. The report had also claimed that World Health Organization estimated that one in five drugs made in India are fakes. A 2010 survey of New Delhi pharmacies found that 12 per cent of sampled drugs were spurious.
“This had been cleared long back after the WHO formally informed Health Ministry that there was no such survey done by it in India. It is no more a debatable issue,” a senior official from the Health Ministry told Pharmabiz about the report.
During the meeting with the US FDA Commissioner last week, the Union Minister had also clearly countered the allegations saying that “cheap drugs did not mean that they were spurious”.
Detailing the steps taken to check the spurious drugs, the ministry sources said the States/UTs were requested to set up special Courts for trial of offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act for speedy disposal. So far 16 States have already set up designated special Courts for trial of cases related to spurious and sub-standard drugs.
Guidelines for taking action on samples of drugs declared spurious or not-of-standard quality in the light of enhanced penalties under the Drugs & Cosmetics (Health Ministry asserts that no reports of rise in spurious drugs in IndiaAmendment) Act, 2008 were forwarded to the State Drugs Controllers for uniform implementation. The inspectorate staff have been instructed to keep vigil and draw samples of drugs for test and analysis to monitor the quality of drugs moving in the country, sources said.