The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on chemists for selling cough syrup in which bottles display brand names in bigger letters than the generic name of the drug, codeine phosphate.
Kamlesh Shende, joint commissioner of FDA, Greater Mumbai, said that codeine phosphate syrup bottles often violated the rule because of their popularity among addicts.
"In the past week, we have seized drugs where the manufacturers label the brand name bigger than the generic name, a violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act," said Shende.
According to rule 96 of the Act, the proper name of the drug should be printed more conspicuously than the brand name.
The state FDA has also cracked down on chemists selling codeine phosphate syrups without a prescription or sales receipt. Since 2011, more than 60 chemists' licences have been revoked. FIRs have been filed against 10 other chemists.
The seizures have led to shopkeepers refusing to stock the drug, said Prasad Danave, general secretary of the Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association. "Many wholesalers have been given stop sale notices for codeine syrups. There is a shortage in the market. Owing to the weather, a lot of people have colds and coughs. We don't want clients to protest in front of our shops," said Hukumraj Mehta, Mumbai president, Maharashtra State Druggists and Chemists Association. He added that the association discourages sales to addicts.