In a bid to put an end to the menace of spurious drugs being sold in the market, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has instituted a reward scheme for whistleblowers, whereby as much as Rs 25 lakh or 20 per cent of the value of the confiscated fake drugs would be given to informers.
The scheme would be implemented by the Drugs Controller General (India).
“Since spurious or fake drug is a sensitive issue affecting the health of the citizens as well as the prestige of the country's pharmaceutical trade interests, there is a sense of urgency in taking on the menace on priority basis. There is no dearth of good intentioned people who may wish to work for the country's interests as whistleblowers in eradicating the menace,” said a Health Ministry official.
This reward scheme will be applicable to the informers as well as the officers of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). Similar reward schemes have been put in place by other Government agencies, including informers of income-tax evasion and illegal imports.
According to CDSCO, 0.046 per cent of all medicines sold to customers are spurious. An earlier survey of 10,000 samples, funded by the World Health Organisation and undertaken by the International Pharmaceutical Federation, had concluded that 3.1 per cent of drugs in India were counterfeit
The Government had recently tightened laws for punishing offenders caught with spurious drugs. The amended law enhances the penalty for manufacture of spurious drugs to a minimum imprisonment of 10 years.
The size of the Indian pharma industry is about Rs 85,000 crore, with about 40 per cent, i.e., Rs 35,000 crore worth of pharma products being exported.
It is among the top 20 countries of the world exporting pharma products.