The recent crackdown by a joint team of Special Task Force (STF) and Economic Offences Unit (EoU) on the wholesale market of medicines in Govind Mitra Road, SP Ghosh lane, Jahaji Kothi and Jain Gali in the state capital has blown the lid off a massive racket in Bihar.
“The racket has been thriving in connivance with insiders as well as the local police and drug officials. The seized medicines appear not only sub-standard but also fake. We also recovered a number of seals of ‘Physician’s sample, not to be sold’, which found their way into the market,” said a police officer.
According to police, the seized drugs are valued at more than Rs. 10 lakh, though surprisingly, 60% of them carried the label of ‘Physician’s sample, not for sale’.
Police said the roads were so congested that only two-wheelers could move in there, but still huge consignments managed to reach there on a regular basis.
On Monday, a joint team of STF and EoU raided four locations, two medical shops and godowns and seized huge quantities of fake medicines being sold and stored there. The team arrested eight persons -Kumar Gaurav, Mukesh Prasad, Pankaj Kumar, Uday Shankar, Randhir Kumar, Abhay Kumar, Sushil Kumar Sah, and Ashraf Ali. Later, they were handed over to EoU police station after lodging an FIR against 10 named accused and an unidentified person on the basis of the statement of drug inspector Yashwant Kumar Jha.
An EoU official said, “We would investigate every aspect of the case, including involvement of government officials, if any. We can’t imagine such a huge supply of physician’s samples in the market without the involvement of drug Mafiosi.” Even medical representatives of several pharmaceuticals companies used to sell off physician’s samples to the racketeers, he added.
Additional director general (ADG), headquarters, Ravindra Kumar said the raid was carried out in the presence of drug inspectors and samples of the seized drugs would be sent to forensic sciences laboratory to check their authenticity.
During investigation, stockists revealed that they were having a tough time due to the growing demand for fake medicines from retailers coming from rural areas of the state. “Poor people always seek a major discount on costly drugs. They are easily trapped by unscrupulous retailers who oblige them by giving fake medicines,” said a stockist of a reputed drug company.
The dealers maintained that the sale of high-quality medicines of reputed companies has been badly affected by the huge supply of ‘fake and substandard drugs’ in the market.
This is the fifth time in the recent past when police team conducted raids on medicine shops and recovered ‘fake medicines’ on such a large scale. Earlier on May 2010, the sleuths of the drug control department recovered medicine worth Rs. 1 crore and lodged nine separate FIRs against 175 persons including five government officials on the basis of the statement of the then drug inspector AK Yadav.