India-made drug to mask alcohol riles UK cops

Updated on Aug 28, 2012 11:59 PM IST

An Indian-made pill that helps drunk drivers pass the breath test has gone on sale in the UK, drawing criticism from police and road-safety campaigners.

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Agencies | By, London

An Indian-made pill that helps drunk drivers pass the breath test has gone on sale in the UK, drawing criticism from police and road-safety campaigners.

The pill, called Alcopal costs £20 (Rs. 1,400) and is already banned in the US.

In the UK, it is being sold online. Supplier Arthur Kibble claims a motorist who has had alcohol above the legal limit can reduce the booze reading to almost zero.

If his claims are correct, it could mean a driver who had five pints of beer can still be found to be under the limit.

Interestingly, the key ingredient in the pill - simethicone - is commonly used to treat digestive discomfort.

"Popular over-the-counter drugs and antacids contain simethicone, which has no harmful effects," said Dr Anoop Misra of Fortis Hospital.

But in Britain, where 280 people die on an average every year because of drunk driving, Alocpal has met with stiff opposition.

Kevin Clinton, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said, "It's dangerous and stupid and may encourage people to drink and drive in the belief they can get away with it."

Police warned that drunk drivers using the pills will be punished.

"If you're driving while over the limit, we will catch you," chief inspector Chris Edwards, of West Midlands Police, said.

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