Ranbaxy Laboratories, India's largest drug company by sales, is facing a trust deficit after losing millions on a recent decision by a US court, where it had admitted to having supplied adulterated drugs in that country.
Apollo Pharmacy, the country's largest branded drug retail network with over 1,500 outlets, has temporarily suspended sale of medicines manufactured by Ranbaxy Laboratories. The pharmacy chain is now working with Ranbaxy to verify all necessary certifications of the drugs.
The company, however, has found support from the ministry of health and family welfare. "The company may have forgotten to follow one or two steps prescribed by the US Food and Drugs Administration, but that does not mean the drugs are sub-standard," said Jagdish Prasad, director-general of health services.
"A cautionary advisory was issued based on concerns raised by the medical committee," said the spokesperson at Apollo Pharmacy. "The matter is in the process of being resolved as Ranbaxy continues to provide the necessary paperwork."
"We have met the chief executive officer of Apollo Pharmacies and they have expressed complete trust in us," a Ranbaxy spokesperson said. "Consultants will continue to prescribe our products."
Mumbai-based Jaslok Hospital, which earlier stopped the usage of drugs manufactured by Ranbaxy, has now resumed the procurement. Gurgaon-based Medanta Medicity, meanwhile, may seek necessary documents from Ranbaxy before resuming consumption.
The Indian Pharmacist Association, which caters to over 10,000 pharmacists on a pan-India basis, is also skeptical but cannot hold back the sales without the notification from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has agreed to hear the public interest litigation (PIL) filed against Ranbaxy, seeking a probe against the company for allegedly manufacturing and selling adulterated drugs. The PIL has also sought for cancellation of the company's drug manufacturing license.