Look carefully before you take that antacid tablet for acidity. For chances are it could turn out to be spurious. An RTI query revealed that fake drugs are in the range of 10 to 20 per cent in states like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
In smaller states like Delhi and Goa, the figure of spurious drugs may be just under five per cent. But considering the volume of medicines sold and that many of these are life-saving formulations, the fake drug menace is as scary as it gets for the common man.
The drugs found “not of standard quality” and “spurious” in sample tests conducted by the state drugs controller are some which we require for day-today use.
“Some commonly used daily drugs are Pantocid for acidity and gastro problems, Enalapril and Dopamine for blood pressure, Paracetamol for normal viral control to antibiotics like Ronflox and Oflomac. These adulterated drug samples are found across the country from Tamil Nadu to Sikkim,” Delhi-based Raj Hans Bansal said, quoting the RTI reply.
In UP, nearly 130 drugs of 800 tested randomly were found fake this year. Last year, nearly 162 of 1,000 samples turned out to be fake. In Tamil Nadu, for instance, nearly 210 samples tested fake out of the nearly 3,900 randomly checked last year, the RTI reply said.
Officials in the Union health ministry said the quantum of fake drugs could be bigger as many North-east states and Bihar did not provide the required data. They admitted that there was no complete control over the menace.
In January, at least 32 medicines sold in hospitals and chemist shops across India failed the tests and were declared “not of standard quality” by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.
According to a Partnership for Safe Medicines India report on ‘Patient Safety and Drug Detection Technology’ released last year, India has more than 10,000 manufacturers of pharmaceutical products but very few qualify the standards of ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’.
Most of the states were silent on the value of drugs seized, but the RTI reply added that at least 110 arrests have been made since last year in cases involving fake drugs seizure and trading.