October 01, 2020

Medicine mafia shock

Patna: If you thought the nightmare of expired medicines being sold as fresh in the city is over, think again.

Operation Drug Mafia, the state government’s crackdown against expired medicines, has stumbled upon new evidence of the racket thriving in Patna.

The health department’s drug control administration has lodged FIRs against a Banaras-based private agency, Centre for Pollution Control, and officials of Surge Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd, a pharmaceutical shop in Bahadurpur, apart from a few other medicine shops in the last three days at different police stations for allegedly selling expired drugs into the market.

Drug control administration sources said around 1,600 kg of expired drugs recovered from godowns – in Bangali Akhara, Patrakar Nagar, Sandalpur, Biscouman Colony, etc – last year have now been linked to the Bahadurpur-based Surge Pharmaceuticals and the Centre for Pollution Control.

Expired medicines from Surge were handed over to the Centre for Pollution Control, which was supposed to destroy the expired medicines.

However, the agency allegedly sold back the expired drugs into market and the medicines with changed labels and they had even forged the manufacturing and expiry date on them.

“The role of both the Surge Pharmaceuticals and the Centre for Pollution Control is now in question,” said Sachchidanand Prasad Vikrant, one of the drug inspectors involved in Operation Drug Mafia.

“Surge Pharmaceuticals is in question because it handed over expired medicines to the Banaras-based agency because as per norms the medicine manufacturing companies are supposed to call back the expired batches of medicines and they have to destroy them on their own. So how can Surge Pharmaceuticals hand over the expired drugs to agency other than the drug manufacturing agencies? This has raised suspicion on their role. Besides, the Centre for Pollution Control, the agency which was handed over medicines, has been allegedly found to have sold back the medicines into market instead of destroying them. It also does not have license to operate over here.”

Sachchidanand said that while FIRs had been already filed against Surge Pharmaceuticals officials, Centre for Pollution Control, and around 22 individuals, the drug administration is going to initiate similar action against the other pharmaceutical shops suspected to be involved in the expired drug business.

“Around 80 drug manufacturing companies are supposed to be involved in this. We are going to probe their role in the business and soon FIR would be lodged against them also,” said Rajesh Gupta, another drug inspector.

The other drug inspectors involved in the operation include Rajesh Sinha, Dharmendra Kumar and Kaimuddin Ansari.

According to experts, expired medicines don’t harm patients. They only lose their efficacy due to which they are not effective on patients for the particular disorder they are suffering from.

So, taking expired medicines is like keeping the disorder untreated.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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