Andhra Pradesh

Spurious COVID-19 drugs manufacturing racket busted

In a huge haul, officials of the Drug Control Administration (DCA) busted an inter-State spurious drug racket. They seized the spurious COVID-19 drug stocks, being manufactured for more than a year.

The Uttarakhand-based racket was unearthed in Andhra Pradesh, which reportedly has links to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and other States. Drugs worth about ₹5 crore have been allegedly marketed in the last one year, investigation officers of the DCA said.

The accused were manufacturing the Dewciff-AZ tablets (Cefixime, Azithromycin and Lactic Acid Bacillus tablets), Azidew-250 (Azithromycin tablets), FIXRAT-AZ and four other brands of tablets. The tablets were reportedly manufactured at Kancare Pharmaceuticals Private Limited, Roorke, Haridwar district, Uttarakhand, on the fictitious manufacturer’s name HPHIN Pharmaceuticals, which was not in existence.

“As the sale of antibiotics, multi vitamin and C-vitamin tablets was high due to COVID for the last few months, we kept a vigil on sale of drugs and were doing random checks on the quality of the drugs,” said DCA Director-General S. Ravi Shankar Narayan.

Intelligent sampling

“During intelligent sampling, the DCA teams collected samples of several drugs, which were sent to the Drug Control Laboratory, Vijayawada. Tests confirmed that eight varieties of drugs were spurious and do not have any medicinal substances,” Mr. Ravi Shankar said.

Based on the lab reports, the teams headed by Assistant Director K. Raja Bhanu, along with Bhimavaram Drug Inspector P. Mallikharnuna Rao, Rajamahendravaram (Urban) Drug Inspector A. Krishna conducted raids on the medical shops in West and East Godavari districts and seized huge quantity of sub-standard drugs, the DG said.

The teams led by Drug Inspectors, J. Vinod and B. Anvesh Reddy raided a few other pharmacies in Krishna and other districts and seized about eight varieties of tablets. The DCA, A.P., alerted the officials concerned of other States, Mr. Bhanu said.

A team of investigators visited Roorke and raided the manufacturing unit, along with the local DCA personnel. The accused were marketing the drugs from Chandigarh on different labels. A report has been sent to the Drug Controller General of India on the racket and an alert has been sounded across the country, the official said.

Four arrested

“We identified about 25 accused, including seven in Uttarakhand, 16 in Andhra Pradesh and two in Chandigarh. A case under Section 32 of The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and other charges has been registered. Four persons allegedly involved in the racket — Tyagi Gaurav, Goel Vipul, Girish Snehi and Dinesh Pandey — were arrested, and efforts are on to nab the remaining accused” Mr. Raja Bhanu said.

The DCA officials raided more than 25 wholesale drug traders, pharmacies, labelling and packing in Andhra Pradesh and other States. Bank accounts, tax payment receipts, drug orders, some vital documents including some scientific evidences were confiscated, the DCA officials said.

The DG said the licences of the wholesale drug dealers and the pharmacies, which marketed the spurious COVID drugs, were cancelled.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 9:08:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/spurious-covid-19-drugs-manufacturing-racket-busted/article34347041.ece

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