The Health Department will soon introduce a foolproof system for disposing of time-barred drugs, M. Bhaskaran, Director, Directorate of Drug Control, said on Wednesday.

The move follows the seizure of expired drugs that were sent to retail outlets with fake manufacture/expiry dates.

While seven persons were arrested and two surrendered in a city court on Tuesday, special teams were rushed to a neighbouring State to apprehend three prime suspects in the case.

“We have evolved a procedure that will ensure foolproof disposal of time-barred drugs. Because of timely intervention, we have been able to prevent large stocks of expired drugs from reaching the people. Drug Inspectors have been asked to look for three particular medicines that are being circulated with fake dates of manufacture or expiry. Pro-active steps are being taken to expose the entire nexus,” Mr. Bhaskaran told The Hindu on Wednesday.

The Chennai police seized expired drugs worth about Rs.1 crore from a godown here on Wednesday.

The medicines, mostly vitamin supplements in the form of tablets or tonic for pregnant women, were seized from the storage point of Sanjay Kumar, one of the prime suspects wanted in the case pertaining to sale of expired drugs.

“We are following some specific inputs and more seizures will follow soon. This is a very elaborate case and a special team of more than 60 police personnel are involved in the investigation and the arrest of accused persons. The seized medicines are being sent for forensic analysis,” Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran said.

Asked if the recent death of a three-year-old girl in Pulianthope allegedly due to consumption of expired drugs was linked to this case, Mr. Rajendran said a Forensic Science Laboratory report was expected in that regard. Information on how and where the suspects managed to procure the expired drugs and who assisted them in circulating them to retail outlets would be known only after the arrest of the main suspects.

According to police sources, police and health officials launched an intensive operation to detect time-barred or spurious drugs across the State. Director-General of Police Letika Saran said instructions had been given to zonal Inspectors General of Police and Commissioners of Police to take appropriate action on complaints preferred by Drug Inspectors.

“This will be a joint operation in coordination with health officials. They (the health department) have listed certain companies indulging in the sale of expired drugs. We are assisting them in taking action against the persons involved,” Ms. Letika Saran added.

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