The State Drug Control Authority has intensified raids across the State to identify spurious drug dealers and sellers.
The Additional Directors have been instructed to seize spurious products, Director M. Bhaskaran told The Hindu on Sunday. None of the expired drugs identified had reached pharmacies or been sold to consumers.
Mr. Bhaskaran said in the last 10 days, raids were conducted in 20 places. In one of the searches, about 2,700 bottles of a spurious cough syrup were seized in Cuddalore and 228 bottles in Coimbatore on Saturday.
“Raid is a continuous process. We were able to identify and locate the movement of the drugs, and investigations led to their seizure. There is no stock [of the spurious drug] in the market,” he said.
In the latest racket, police investigation revealed the involvement of a person who had stocked drugs at his residence without licence. It was found that three of the seven persons involved in the racket had licences to stock and sell drugs.
The drugs were routed to the licensed wholesaler by a truck driver from the original distributor. The driver was supposed to dispose of the expired drugs at the Kodungaiyur dumping yard.
Although the police had arrested seven persons, two key players in the racket were absconding. The Drug Control authority suspected involvement of more persons in the racket.
“The investigations reveal that the racketeers are from outside the State. We are trying to get to the root of the case,” Mr. Baskaran said.
The authorities have also seized three boxes of injections with ‘Not for Sale' label on them from the residence of Sanjay Kumar, who is the prime suspect and had no licence to stock drugs. Mr. Baskaran said the licences of the three persons involved in the racket would be cancelled. M. Arulkumar, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association said: “Expired drugs are returned to the distributor. Pharmacists and chemists buy drugs only from authorised stockists and insist on bill. We have been continuously educating pharmacists and we inform the Drug Control Authority if we come across malpractice.”
In the last six months, the Drug Control Authority had come across three cases of sale of spurious drugs across the State. The first case was detected six months ago. Two other cases had come to the authority's notice and it was pursuing the clues gathered through CB-CID, Mr. Baskaran said.