DrugsControl Media Services

FDA raids spurious manufacturer in Palghar, seize Rs. 30 lakh worth of spurious drugs

Tuesday, October 21, 2003 :Mumbai

Maharashtra FDA and its Joint Commissioner's Office Thane have jointly raided Palghar based Elcor Pharma, a small time contract manufacturer, and seized stocks of spurious Amoxycillin, Ampicillin and Solutone (used in multi-vitamins). Elcor was manufacturing these medicines for a Mumbai based company Twin Pharma. These drugs under Twin Pharma were meant to be exported to Africa and to some Asian countries.

Some of the Ampicillin and Amoxycillin formulations did not have any active ingredients while some had 6 to 40 per cent ingredients. Solutone formulations were also sub-standard.

On the basis of a tip, raids were conducted at Elcor's Palghar factory a fortnight ago, where inspectors found packets of these spurious drugs. "We later came to know that a large batch of drugs have already been transported to JNPT docks to be supplied to Africa. Immediately our team raided the docks and got hold of spurious drugs," said Omprakash Sadhwani, Assistant Commissioner, Intelligence Bureau, Maharashtra FDI. "Spurious drugs worth Rs. 30 lakh has been caught during the raid," said Girish Wakharia, Drug inspector, FDA. The FDA canceled the licences of Twin Pharma and Elcor, and arrested their owners.

The case is currently under Customs jurisdiction. "As soon as the legal matters of customs are cleared we will proceed judicially," said Wakharia.

According to FDA officials, spurious drug activity is not as much active in Maharashtra as other Northern states due to the high awareness levels of the residents of the state. Besides, the state FDA is a well-networked institution having offices in all the districts of the state.

"The spurious drugs meant for exports are always targeted towards less developed regions like Africa, Afghanistan or Central Asia, as the drug control and inspection authorities in these countries are less advanced," said Sadhwani.

Meanwhile, FDA officials complain that they are not getting enough cooperation from the industry. "Not a single pharma company has come forward to us in the past few years with any information on spurious drug activity in the state," said a senior official with Maharashtra FDA.