Delhi plans major clamp down on counterfeit drugs market

Delhi plans major clamp down on counterfeit drugs market

New Delhi: In a bid to rid the city of spurious, misbranded and adulterated medicines, the Delhi Government will soon launch a series of initiatives to clamp down on the Rs75 crore counterfeit drugs market.

The Health department is working on some “harsh measures" which will include frequent raids and better coordination with the police. The government is also mulling bringing a new legislation to deal with the problem as the Central Act has certain loopholes.

Delhi health minister Kiran Walia said she was determined to “stamp out" the business of spurious medicines and has decided to approach the Union Health Ministry to take strict action against those involved in the trade.

“We are considering many options to deal with the problem," she said without elaborating.

S. Bhattacharjee, director of Health Services of the city government, said Ghaziabad and Faridabad are some of the areas where spurious and adulterated drugs are manufactured and circulated in large quantities.

He said under the current law, cooperation is required from several agencies including police and welfare department to get hold of those involved in the business, which at times create hurdles for the drug control authority.

“Our efforts are basically focussed on tightening noose. This is an important issue and we are planning to strengthen our vigilance in a big way," he told PTI.

Admitting that criminal networks always find new ways of evading the authorities, Bhattacharya also indicated that Delhi Government may come out with its own law to deal with the problem.

The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) said there is scope for improvement in implementing the Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act by the Delhi Government.

“We are satisfied with the action taken by Delhi Government against those involved in the crime. But we think there can be improvement in implementation of the Act," executive director of IDMA Ganjanan Wakankar said.

Concerned over the mushrooming business of fake drugs, union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had introduced an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 2008, significantly increasing the penalty for manufacture of spurious or adulterated drugs. The amended bill was passed in Parliament last year.

The Ministry had also launched a whistle blower scheme under which anyone providing information about such rackets would be given rewards upto Rs20 lakh.

Experts said the increasing prevalence of internet pharmacies has also made spurious drugs more difficult to trace.