Drug Inspectors investigate reports of human painkiller being used for cattle

The State Drug Control Department is investigating reports of a painkiller meant for human use being diverted for veterinary purposes in the hilly areas of Western Tamil Nadu.

It may be recalled that the particular painkiller meant for cattle had already been banned, as the remains of the drug in the carcass of cattle endangered the lives of vultures.

Pharmacies located in Gudalur, Thalavadi and Sathyamangalam, besides Sirumugai, Mettupalayam and Annur, have been put under surveillance following reports of Diclofenac Sodium being sold for use for treating sick cattle.

This was being done to circumvent the ban on the drug originally meant for cattle, sources in the Drug Control Department, Coimbatore zone, told The Hindu on Wednesday

A report would be submitted next week to the State Drug Control Department. This drug was available in vials of 3ml and 30ml at costs that are cheaper compared to the drugs meant for veterinary use.

Drug Inspectors have already completed inquiries with the bulk dealers and have begun to check the retail sales in the past two weeks. With Diclofenac Sodium being a prescription drug, the pharmacies would be asked to furnish the sales records and prescriptions.

Further, sources said that inquiries will be held with doctors as well in cases where the prescription looked suspicious.

The Diclofenac Sodium is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic agent used in the treatment of pain resulting from minor injury, trauma, dental pain and backache.

The Coimbatore Zone of the Drug Control Department covers four districts with 11 Drug Inspectors. Of this, five are deployed at Coimbatore, four at Erode with one each at Tirupur and The Nilgiris.

Apart from this drug, the State Drug Control Department has also directed all zones to strictly enforce the Drug Price Control Order issued under the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority. Under this, prices have been fixed at lower levels for around 300 drugs.

Sources said that the Drug Inspectors conducted frequent checks to ascertain the availability of these drugs. Reports were sent to the State Drug Control Department every month.