Though the state government has launched statewide drive against the fake drug racket, the irony is that fake drug industry in Uttar Pradesh has been growing under the very patronage of the State Health Department officials.
Unbelievable! The drugs licence and supply system of the department throws enough light on the fact. Each year the Central Medicine Store Department (CMSD) gives order to various pharmaceuticals company for the supply of drug for distribution in the government hospitals. With connivance of the Health Department officials, the agents of the illegal drug industry manage to get a diversion letter. Instead of the original company to whom the order was issued, the unscrupulous company supplies the consignment of drug and even draws the payment.
Recently a team of the Health Department visited Faizabad, Auraiya, Etawah, Banda, Hamirpur, Sitapur and checked the stock of the drug supplied to the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) and Chief Medical Superintendents (CMS). To their surprise the members of the team found that order for the supply of drug was issued to an Indore based company Endo Laboratories but the drug was supplied by Medi Plus a company working from a basement in Rajajipuram locality in Lucknow.
Orders of drug supply issued to the established pharmaceutical companies like Cipla Pharmaceutical company, Zidus Cadila, VS Vitamins Company, Glenmark Pharmaceutical Company, Clariss Life Science Pharma, Vapi Care Pharmaceutical etc that have been enlisted by the Central Government as well as state government for the supply of drug, are being diverted to the illegal drug manufacturers. Drug supplied by the unscrupulous firms are much cheaper in comparison the authorized company.
DG Medical Health and Family Welfare Dr LB Prasad says to check the supply of fake and substandard drug the department had banned diversion of the drug supply. But the ban order is limited to paper. Diversion letters are freely attached to the supply order and accepted by the CMSD as well as CMOs. Instead of the certified company the drugs manufactured by the illegal companies are supplied to the government hospitals. Officials turn blind eye to the racket as the fake drug dealers have already fixed their cut.
Each year Health Department spends Rs 200 crore on drug purchase. Before supplying the drug the companies are ought to submit report that samples of the drug have been tested in an accredited laboratory. Test report is deposited with the Director CMSD before the drug stock is transported to the districts. But none of the company submitted the laboratory test report in the financial year 2006-07. "We are not sure if the drug supplied to the hospitals were expired, fake or substandard one", a senior Health official said.
A Drug Inspector said, "We do not visit the drug stores located in the government hospitals and CMO office to collect the drug sample. In districts the inspectors are under CMOs then how could we raid the stores that are under the charge of the boss. Usually the fake and substandard drug are immediately supplied to the community health centers and primary health centers for consumption", he said.
Since fake drug units are getting enough oxygen from the Health Department the fake drug business had virtually taken the shape of cottage industry in Uttar Pradesh. No doubt, after the launch of the drive, fake drug units were being unearthed by the district administration official in various parts of the state.