RTI reveals high prevalence of spurious or fake drugs in the country
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the problem of fake drugs persists to a large extent and that the whistleblower scheme to counter the menace has not been able to bear fruits.
The reply, provided by the Ministry of Health, states that a total of 345 cases of spurious drugs have been reported by Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) between 2009 and 2012 - 117 in 2009-10, 95 in 2010-11 and 133 in 2011-12. The data shows that out of 1.37 lakh drug samples tested by CDSCO in the last three years, 6,500 samples were found to be of sub-standard quality and 345 samples were found to be fake.
In 2009, Ministry had launched a scheme to reward the whistleblowers who give information regarding fake drugs. According to the RTI reply, 37 complaints were received under the scheme and investigated by the concerned State Drug Controlling Authorities or/and CDSCO. However, none of the complaints were found to be true and as yet no one has been rewarded under the scheme.
Fake and spurious drugs are a problem which has a very heavy impact on the health of the individuals who unknowingly consume it. Only through a vigilant public participation coupled with the physician – pharmaceutical cooperation can end the problem.