Medicine shock reveals racket
Patna: The drug control administration's recent raids on medicine shops on Govind Mitra Road has unearthed a racket of making fake medicines with the label of an American pharmaceutical company.
The racket was revealed, said Sachchidanand Prasad Vikrant, who led the team of drug inspectors and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) officials in the raid, when a city resident bought an antibiotic used to treat eye infections, but got another antibiotic used to treat lung and urinary tract infections.
"A patient had bought the medicine Vigamox of the US-based Alcon company but he found clamox when he unwrapped it," Vikrant said. "A city-based ophthalmologist had written to the DCGI about this, asking it to conduct a probe. The two-member DCGI team reached Patna on Friday and we conducted raids on the pharmaceutical shops in question along with the DCGII team on Friday and Saturday. The initial probe suggests that the drug shops were allegedly manufacturing the medicines of the US-based company. One of the definitions of the counterfeit or fake drugs is that those drugs which are sold with other brand name instead of original. So we are taking the recent case as a case related to the counterfeit drug business. We have already lodged an FIR against the owner of Pooja Medical Agency Rishu Kumar and owner of Amar Enterprises Shiv Kumar and two employees engaged with these shops."
Vikrant said that the Patna drug control administration's team had planned how to conduct the raids on the shops while the DCGII supported the Patna team.
The drug control administration's team has sent the seized medicine samples to a government-authorised laboratory to check its quality. The drug control administration's team, however, didn't reveal the name of the laboratory where the samples have been sent, saying that secrecy in the probe would be compromised.
According to the drug control administration's team, their probe started with Janata Medical Hall on Boring Road on Friday night, which provided the bill related to the purchase of the medicine from Amar Enterprises. However, Amar Enterprises claimed that it had bought the medicines from Pooja Medical Agency, another pharmaceutical shop on Govind Mitra Road. The Pooja Medical Agency claimed that it had bought medicines from Varanasi-based Vaishnavi Enterprises.
"However, Pooja Medical Agency couldn't provide us bill-related documents while on the other hand Amar Enterprises denied having sold medicines to Janata Medical Hall," Vikrant said. "But Janata Medical Hall had already provided us purchase bill documents which proved that the medicine was bought from Amar Enterprises. The charges slapped against both the agencies are related to counterfeit drug business under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which has provisions of 10 years of imprisonment."
The raiding team has video recorded the raids, based on the health department's directive. State health minister Mangal Pandey recently issued instructions to video record raids conducted on medical shops so that there is fool-proof evidence against shops involved in the business of fake or substandard medicines, said health department sources.