In a bid to address the menace of counterfeit drugs in India, Union Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya on August 29 said the pharmaceutical industry needs to act against firms involved in manufacturing substandard and falsified medical products in the country.
“It feels absurd when fake and spurious drugs are detected by the drug controllers in the country; the pharma industry needs to act on these incidents. If there is bargaining at quality of medicines by any company, then firms involved in malpractices should be ousted from the associations,” Mandaviya said while addressing the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
The Union government informed parliament last month that various state and union territories’ drug controllers tested over 84,874 drug samples last year, out of which 2,652 drug samples were declared not of standard quality while 263 samples were declared spurious or adulterated.
According to a report by Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association (ASPA), a non-profit organisation dealing in the area of anti-counterfeit awareness, the incidents of sub-standard and falsified (SF) drugs and other medical products related to COVID-19 increased by almost 47 percent just within a year – from 2020 to 2021.
“Incidents of counterfeiting of COVID-19 products were observed in 23 out of 29 States and seven Union Territories in India. The spurious and sub-standards of pharmaceutical incidents increased by 47 percent from 2020 (91) to 2021 (134),” the report said.
Union Minister Mandaviya further urged the pharma companies to bring innovative research with the goal of ensuring good health and wellbeing of the people, not just for commercial purposes.
Mandaviya also said the government has been successful in implementing the first Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.“Out of 43 Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), manufacturing of 25 to 26 APIs has started in India. There are four to five permutation-based APIs, which are important for the critical requirements for medicines in the country and we are exploring the avenues for this also,” he added.