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Distributor in spot for fake drugs

A Consumer court in the Capital ordered a pharmaceutical distributor to pay Rs 10.5 lakh as punitive damages to a bone cancer patient for selling him spurious injection that aggravated his condition.

delhi Updated: Jun 16, 2010 01:42 IST
Harish V Nair

A Consumer court in the Capital ordered a pharmaceutical distributor to pay Rs 10.5 lakh as punitive damages to a bone cancer patient for selling him spurious injection that aggravated his condition.

The court also directed the Delhi Drug Controller to initiate civil or criminal proceedings against the distributor, M/s Impex India, "so that other patients may not become victims". The distributor's licence has already been suspended.

"We are constrained to hold that the distributor has played with lives of various citizens," ruled South Delhi Consumer Forum president VK Gupta and member Vinay Singh.

The court was ruling in a case filed by Rajinder Mani, an Inspector-General with Border Security Force, who had been given the counterfeit medicine by the distributor.

Mani, who was diagnosed to with bone cancer in 2006, was prescribed Mebthra 500 mg, a drug imported from Switz-erland. Mani bought the medicine from Impex. However, despite the full course of four injections, Mani found no relief. Instead, his cancer spread.

The doctors then told him the medicine was spurious and told him to buy the injection from another distributor. The new medicine was effective, but Mani had already suffered irreparable physical damage. He had to undergo surgery for replacement of his left hip joint.

Mani, after recovering from surgery, made enquiries and found that the drug's sole distributor in India was the second distributor, M/s Taksal Pharmaceuticals.

Mani then filed a case against Impex, saying it was clear that it obtained the injection from spurious drug market and that they didn't have the import licence to procure the drug.

Perusing the evidence, the court said, "Material on record clearly shows that Impex had supplied spurious injection on account of which the complainant could not recover, as when the same injections from Taksal was administered there was immediate effect."

The consumer forum, as punishment, directed Impex to refund Mani the medicine's cost of Rs 2.50 lakh, and also pay him compensation of Rs 8 lakh for the "physical pain and mental agony" he went through.