According to the latest ASSOCHAM survey, sale of fake and spurious drugs in the National Capital Region (NCR to the extent of Rs.300 crore annually continues to be unabated and it has gone upto 20-25% of the total medicines sold in the region.

Sale of fake and spurious drugs in the National Capital Region (NCR) region to the extent of Rs.300 crore annually continues to be unabated as, according to the latest ASSOCHAM survey, it has gone upto 20-25% of the total medicines sold in the region.

The data collected by the Chamber from the genuine drug manufacturers in the NCR region, has observed that intensification of the spurious drugs in the region has not only severely impacted the original drugs manufacturers annual turnover by about 25% in Ghaziabad, Meerut, Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Sonepat but has hugely threatened the life of the patients. It has recommended review of the law to make stringent provision for punishment to the fake drug manufacturers.

Unfortunately, the designated agencies created to keep strict watch and take punitive action to penalize fake drugs manufacturers in the NCR have been lacking. Therefore, the Chamber has suggested creation of NCR Drugs Protection Authority to monitor nefarious activities of fake and counterfeit drugs manufacturers.

The Chamber Secretary General, Mr. D S Rawat lamented that at All India levels, fake and counterfeit drugs are so widely disbursed that their estimates as per latest figure exceed Rs.15,000 crore per annum and therefore, a beginning ought to be made may be with the NCR region.

Further commenting on the ASSOCHAM analysis, its Secretary General pointed out that other pockets within the NCR in which counterfeit drugs sale is effected without any fear include Mohan Nagar, Dadri, Surajpur, Suburb of Faridabad, Gurgaon and Haryana.

The other key factors for the spread of fake drugs in NCR comprise the shortages of drug inspectors and proper lab facilities to check purity of drugs, storages of spurious drugs by the chemists, weaknesses in drug distribution system, plenty of uneducated workforce in NCR and lack of enforcement.  These all reasons have given the liberty to fake drugs manufacturers and druggists to supply the spurious drugs in the region.

Majority of such drugs are devoid of necessary ingredients estimates for which exceed even 40% and therefore the government concern should activate drug inspectors to catch the culprits. The fake drugs makers not only damage the society but evade taxation such as excise, VAT and local levies and subject the concern governments to revenue losses which runs into thousands of rupees.

The concentration of fake drugs manufacturers can largely be found out in locations such as Bahadurgarh, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Bhiwadi, Ballabhgarh, Sonepat, Hisar and Punjab. These factories are located close to the bordering areas to access bulk supplies in the NCR region without any fear of being caught.

NCR has limited drugs inspectors to monitor over 3300 chemists and over 30% chemists are based in small areas of NCR.  In view of limited routine checking by drug inspectors, these chemists are storing large stocks of spurious and fake drugs and unskilled and rural areas patients purchase most of them.  NCR has also very few laboratories in the regions with proper infrastructure to check the correct ingredients in drugs.

For traders manufacturing fake drugs, the profits margins are very high with no apparent risk. The fake drugs are available in the popular medicines like Crocin, Voveran, Betadine, injections of calcium and syrups like Cosavil. The fake drugs business are also turned into a massive racket and even the government run hospitals in NCR have been witnessed the availability of fake drugs to the extent of 10-15%.

It should also carry out a survey of drugs for their genuineness and quality.  For this purpose, large sample survey need to be carried out in different parts, separately for Metro, small cities, towns and rural areas”, said Mr. Rawat.