Counterfeit drugs have increasingly shown up in the Indian market, which is a serious problem for the Indian government. Many of the common medicines prescribed to patients by doctors turn out to be counterfeit once the patient purchases the drugs from chemist shops. In January of this year, at least 32 medicines that were sold in places such as hospitals and chemist shops have proven to be counterfeit by the Indian government. Those medicines were subject to government tests by the Health Ministry’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and failed to meet standard quality benchmarks.
Drugs such as Angizaar, used to treat diabetes and hypertension, and Paracetamol, used as a pain reliever, were flagged by the Health Ministry and put on high alert. A Health Ministry official said that certain drugs have been recalled from individual locations. “The drugs that failed different tests ranging from color, weight to dissolution have been put on high alert. The drugs have been withdrawn from the market by the respective CDSO branches in the area where they were manufactured or were being distributed,” said the official. “Joint surprise checks are being conducted with the state drug controllers to check the quality of drugs on monthly basis. Under such checks, samples are drawn from government hospitals, retail and wholesale dealers having different pharmacological categories.”
Dr. Jagdish Prasad, the Director of General Health Services at the Ministry of Health, also acknowledged the problem. “We recently had a meeting to strengthen the drug control system in India. We are set to increase the number of drug inspectors in all zones. The drug inspectors will go to the manufacturing sites and check the quality of the medicines,” said Dr. Prasad.