The rise in “falsified and substandard medicines” has become a “public health emergency”. A surge in counterfeit and poor quality medicines means that thousands of patient a year are thought to die after receiving shoddy or outright fake drugs intended to treat ailments. Most of the deaths are in countries where a high demand for drugs combines with poor surveillance, quality control and regulations to make it easy for criminal gangs and cartels to infiltrate the market.
There is an urgent need for effort to combat a “pandemic of bad drugs” that is thought to kill hundreds of thousands of people globally every year.
More are thought to die from poor or counterfeit vaccines and antibiotics used to treat or prevent acute infections and diseases. Beyond the fakes that are made and sold by criminal gangs are poor-quality medicines that lack sufficient active ingredients to work properly, or fail to dissolve correctly when taken. Sloppy manufacturing is often to blame, but others are sold past their shelf life or have degraded in poor storage conditions.
Governments and pharmaceutical companies had to improve the security of the drug supply chain in all countries from the point of manufacture to the patient. Regarding online pharmacies, there is poor public understanding of how to differentiate between a legitimate online pharmacy and an illegal one. Illegal online pharmacies and the sale of medicines via social media platforms pose the greatest risk to the public.
To make big money, Pradhan got his cousin Shubham Manna and Ram Kumar involved in his plan and started making spurious cancer drugs. “He had been providing spurious medicines at a discounted 50% of market prices. He was manufacturing and supplying more than 21 spurious cancer medicines of various companies of different countries,” special commissioner (crime) Ravindra Yadav said. The syndicate comprised highly-qualified and well-earning individuals. Manna had completed his BTech and served in MNCs before joining hands with Pradhan. Police said his job was to generate barcodes, emboss batch numbers and expiry dates on medicines. He also looked after overall packaging of the spurious medicines. International syndicate used to procure capsules and manufactured fake medicines by filling them with starch.