Thanks to Bhuma Srivastava for her hard work and soul-stirring article, ‘Fake drugs industry operates openly, Mint, 30 April, on how the mercenaries of death operate in connivance with unscrupulous elements.The cancer of fake drugs that rules the markets is disturbing. More so, since people pay their hard-earned money only to buy death and there is endless suffering for the family left behind by the deceased. Congratulations to Harinder Sikka for filing a PIL against this. People with a conscience must raise their voices in unison to support him in his push for the concerned amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
The problem of fake drugs has plagued our community for many years. Few crimes can be more horrendous than this one. Indirectly, this is murder in cold blood. The agony of suffering from the administration of fake drugs can only be understood by those who have been affected. Fake drugs not only take away precious lives, but also lead to the emergence of drug resistance. Unfortunately, our legal system is painfully tardy. As in other spheres, our socio-political environment has allowed the culprits to carry on with their nefarious activities with utter disregard for the law of the land. Hang a few and this menace will come to an end.
Hence, through your columns, I appeal that the law should be strengthened with more stringent and exemplary punishments, including capital punishment. I read of a PIL filed in the high court. I urge the court and Parliament to take a speedy decision on this crucial issue. Your efforts through the media must help this cause. We had a mega conference on luxury. Let us have a mega conference on fake drugs, an industry possibly larger than the luxury one. I wish you success.
Your story does a commendable job in highlighting the menace posed by counterfeit drugs to humanity.
Despite being a serious health hazard, there has never been any concerted effort from all the stakeholders involved to counter this hazard. And that has continuously encouraged the culprits to profit from it.
Lack of infrastructure and manpower for the regulator, coupled with major inadequacies in the existing laws, make the problem a very complex one. There is still no clarity on the draft law pending in Parliament to expedite the legal procedure and increase punitive measures.
In the meantime, it is the general public that is suffering. Do we not have the right to quality medicines?
Who will answer this question—the the government or the pharmaceutical industry? And who will take the lead and help implement a practical solution?
With the secondary wholesaler distribution market being the weakest link in the supply chain, the industry and industry associations have to play a proactive role in containing the menace of fake drugs.
Mint, by bringing to the forefront an issue of public health, has put in a great effort.
However, it should not end here; rather, further follow-ups need be done so that the concerned take appropriate action to meet the menace.
This refers to the interview with Harinder S. Sikka, ‘Govt must take the blame if fake drugs are having a field day’, Mint, 3 May. I feel three steps are required to do away with the menace of spurious and inferior quality drugs. We need to do a detailed analysis of the essential drugs. Those drugs that are required for treatment of common ailments should be sold only in generic form, though brands may be allowed here.
Vitamin formulations with odd combinations need to be banned straight away. We need to strengthen those drug manufacturers who are ready to adhere to a very high degree of quality, but cannot reach the masses.
Spurious drug manufacturers will have to be punished and punished very fast; if needed, we should set up special courts for the purpose.
—Narendra M. Apte