Updated on 1 November 2012
The various officials of health ministry, government of India, World Health Organization and Partnership for Safe Medicine (PSM) have called the figure as misleading and creating a bad name for the nation internationally.
Earlier a countrywide survey had been done by the Central Drug Standards Control Organization (CDSCO) in 2008-09 based on statistical methodology of determining the sample size advised by Indian Statistical Institute, Hyderabad. Dr D Roy, deputy drug controller general of India, said, "Data generated on the legal samples drawn by drug inspectors throughout India above shows the extent of spurious drugs vary between 0.3 percent-to-0.4 percent. A survey funded by WHO & carried out by SEARPharm Forum in 2007 showed 3.1 percent counterfeit suspects during visual inspection but 0.3 percent did not meet the pharmacopia standards during lab analysis."
Setting the things right!
Various stakeholders agree on the need to develop a common framework under which such drugs can be studied in detail and also bringing clarity on the definition of spurious, which will be acceptable globally. The increased use of the internet worldwide has indeed been providing an anonymous marketplace for criminal counterfeiters trading and advertising spurious medicine. It is also alleged that a few countries were illegally using brand India to market such drugs overseas in their own interest. Experts caution that unless checked this could undermine the image and credibility of the pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, especially the small and medium scale companies, who are the biggest contributor to low cost medicines, not only in India but across the world.
PSM India also will be conducting a study in the coming months by engaging with all the stakeholders, especially Government of India on making a comprehensive report on the level of spurious medicines in supply chain in India. This will be based on an agreed methodology arrived at and outlined by former president of India, Dr AP J Abdul Kalam at an event on October 03, 2011, organized by PSM India.
Acknowledging that the laws in India were adequate to deal with counterfeiters, officials were of the view that the regulators and industry needed to work in tandem to safeguard public health by availing latest technologies that facilitate consumers to make informed choice and access to quality medicine. Current technologies available to detect spurious medicines include serialization, non-clonable packaging and 2 D barcoding to name a few.