A frightening scenario is emerging as there seems to be an epidemic about fake or substandard medicines, spurious drugs and heightened belief in marketed therapies by advertisements. An epidemic of ignorance that causes people to believe in pseudoscience or merely in projected promise of cure. A hope of miracle is flashed to patients, who have been given a ‘no hope’ by scientific medicine. Such patients are an easy prey for such fraudsters. It is not uncommon that lethal substances like steroids, hormones and heavy metals are given in dangerous doses.
In the absence of strict Government control, all kinds of dubious assertions are available about curing all types of ailments. These alleged remedies, and the belief systems they are based on, are based on the facts that can neither be proved nor disapproved. They are dangerous to life of patients, which is why it is necessary to fight them and refute them. But who should fight? Patients themselves are blinded by a projected faith and false belief about definite cure.
New Delhi: In its latest drug safety alert, the apex drug regulatory body, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has flagged 50 medicine batches for failing to qualify for a random drug sample test for the month of October,2022.
These drugs samples which are declared not of standard quality include Levocetirizine tablets manufactured by Hindustan antibiotics, Onkam (ondansetron Oral solution) manufactured by Gujarat Pharmalab, Pantop-DSR (Pantoprazole Sodium Gastro-resistant & Domperidone Prolonged release Capsules IP) manufactured by Aristo pharmaceuticals, Diacowin-plus Capsules (prebiotic & probiotics capsules) manufactured by Zee Laboratories and others.
In addition, other popular drug sample that is declared not of standard quality include Montek LC (Montelukast Sodium & Levocetirizine Hydrochloride Tablets IP) manufactured by Sun pharma laboratories due to failure of Identification and assay of Montelukast.
This came after analysis and tests conducted by the CDSCO, Drugs Control Department on 1280 samples. Out of these, 1230 samples were found to be of standard quality while 50 of them were declared as Not of Standard Quality (NSQ).
A few of the reasons why the drug samples tested failed were the failure of the assay, failure of the disintegration test, failure of the dissolution test, failure of sterility test, etc. The samples collected were tested in five laboratories, namely CDL Kolkata, CDTL Mumbai, RDTL Chandigarh, RDTL Guwahati, and CDTL Hyderabad.
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.
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.
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.