Only 1,000 chemists in Punjab to sell ‘habit-forming’ drug Tramadol
Days after recovery of 9.11 lakh Tramadol tablets from a smuggler in Bathinda, the Punjab government has decided to restrict the sale of habit-forming drug by authorising only 1,000 chemists across the state.
The opioid-based tablet is a ‘Schedule H’ drug under the NDPS Act and used as a painkiller, and can be sold only on prescription. A strip of 10 Tramadol tablets costs Rs 56 and the same is sold to drug abusers for Rs 500-600.
On the basis of the disclosures made by smuggler Sunil Kumar alias Sonu of Bathinda, the police on Saturday arrested Ludhiana-based drug stockist Pardeep Goyal for supplying the tablets. Sonu and Goyal are in police remand till Wednesday.
"Due to the misuse of Tramadol tablets for getting a high, it has been decided that only 1,000 chemists in the state will be able to sell the medicine. The painkiller has been put in the category of restricted medicines to regulate its sale at only select chemist shops and hospitals," said Punjab food and drug administrator KS Pannu, adding that there are 16,000 chemists in Punjab.
He said the government has already cancelled licences of 421 chemists who were found violating the guidelines in one way of the other over the months.
The Punjab government had already restricted sale of six medicines — Buprenorphine (used for treatment of drug addiction), Dextropropoxyphene (used for treatment of mild pain and local anesthesia), Diphenoxylate (opioid drug used for treatment of diarrhoea), Pentazocine (synthetic opioid used for treatment of pain), Nitrazepam (hypnotic drug used for treatment of anxiety) and Codeine (opiate for treatment of pain and used in cough syrups) — as they were being misused by the drug addicts.
These medicines are now available at select places, either at hospitals or chemists and stockists near hospitals or at places where there is genuine requirement. These select chemists or stockists are required to maintain record of daily sale and purchase of these medicines.
Ludhiana chemist was into illegal trade for 12 years
Pardeep Goyal, a Ludhiana-based stockist, who was arrested on charges of supplying habit-forming drugs across the state, was into the illegal trade for 12 years.
"Goyal was operating the racket from his medical store — Platinum Health care, Pindi road, Ludhiana. We are investigating into the role of a Delhi-based pharma company and have leads about a cartel active in the illegal trade. Goyal had supplied 70 lakh tablets throughout Punjab mainly Amritsar, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur and Bathinda,” said Gurpreet Deo, ADGP, STF, who was addressing mediapersons in Mohali on Wednesday.
In 2011, Goyal’s licence was suspended for 21 days following a raid, but he started operating under the name of ‘Jai Maa’ on the same licence. “Goyal’s licence was cancelled in 2018 when 7 lakh banned tablets were recovered from his shop. However he started running Platinum Health Care on the licence of his brother-in-law Sandeep Garg of Solan,” said Deo.