Opinion | The menace of counterfeit drugs that India must fight
We need a regulatory mechanism that is geared for quality and armed against fake drugs
India imports around 70% of its raw materials, like active pharmaceutical ingredients and key excipients, for the manufacture of essential drugs from China, the fraying of ties with which has transformed the course of the country’s pharmaceutical business. Even as we promise to “Make in India", we will have to take tough decisions as far as our drug dependence and domestic market are concerned. While the government is working towards making India self-reliant, a potential shortage of drugs and an inward-looking approach could pose another challenge—the perils of counterfeit drugs. Domestically-produced generics have often come under the scanner for failing quality tests. A World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2017 said, “About 10.5% of medicines sold in low and middle-income countries, including India, are substandard and falsified." This is especially alarming at a time when the world is anxious about the adequacy of basic medicine supplies, given the reduced production and increased demand mostly everywhere.