New Delhi: Shocked by the surfacing of fake Chinese medicines with Made in India logo in Africa, the government has asked its missions in the region to step up vigil for protecting the nation’s image and market.
“Commerce and external affairs ministries have written to our mission(s) in Africa that such type of things should be monitored strictly,” said a senior commerce department official.
Recently, there were seizure of fake drugs in Nigeria which were carrying Made in India label but were allegedly manufactured in China. India has taken the issue very seriously as this could damage the reputation of the Indian pharmaceutical industry in the global market.
India has also raised the issue with China. Though China has assured of investigations in the matter, Indian authorities have not been given any time frame, the official said.
“We do not know how fast China will conduct the enquiry and what action they will take against those responsible,” he added.
The official, however, said it was difficult to keep tab on counterfeit drugs in Africa as most of the medicines find way to the interior regions. Besides, most of the African countries do not have a well-knitted mechanism to check spurious imports.
“Such incidents can damage our markets,” the official said.
India’s exports around $7 billion dollars worth of generic pharmaceutical products and Africa accounts for a sizable portion of this. Indian drug companies such as Cipla, Dr Reddy’s and Aurbindo Pharma have increased their shipments to the region and are posing a challenge to the multinational firms for which Africa is considered as a traditional market.
According to industry estimates, global sales of counterfeit drugs are expected to reach $75 billion by 2010, a more than 90% increase from 2005.