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A new BPO: spurious drugs

business Updated: Feb 13, 2008 21:16 IST
Aditya Ghosh
Aditya Ghosh
Hindustan Times
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These Indian BPOs are controlling pharmaceuticals business worth millions of dollars across the globe, challenging their counterparts in Brazil, Nigeria and other countries — typically enjoying low labour costs and operations. Now, they have even started to threaten multinational companies.

In faking

Deftly using loopholes in the Drug and Cosmetic Act in India to produce counterfeits of pharmaceutical products.

All components of an end product — packages, labels and the generic drug are exported out of the country in bulk. All the elements are assembled in countries like Brazil or Nigeria from where they are exported to US markets.

According to the Deputy Director General of Drug Control (western region), Kapil Bhargava, there is no provision in the law for authorities to check the exports, neither is there a provision to detect counterfeit products. “We can act in case of a spurious or substandard product against specific information. We also do random checks but that needs testing of samples. But we cannot do anything against generic drugs meant for exports. If the supplies are not substandard, it does not concern us,” he said.

Also, the department does not have any legal provision to confiscate packaging and printed matter. “I cannot do anything in such cases as they will show me valid export papers from some press,” he added.

In case of spurious drugs, specific complaints are generally necessary if they are not detected through random checks.

Though he would not agree that the problem was acute — he valued the counterfeit market only at 3 per cent while industry figures paint a much more grim picture of the situation.

He also claimed that the onus was on the companies to carry out checks and have an intelligence network to detect counterfeit.