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[e-drug] Counterfeit pharmaceuticals-BBC story (2)

E-DRUG: Counterfeit pharmaceuticals-BBC story (2)

dear BBC / E-druggers,

We have done some investigation in this field and
would be happy to share the information.

It must be said however that in India, the legal
terminology used is "Spurious" (as defined in Section
17B of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act) which is not
restricted to fake medicines but also real medicines
that may be sold under well known brand names without
trade mark holder's permission. The exact quotation

A drug shall be deemed to be spurious:

17-B (e): if it purports to be the product of a
manufacturer of whom its not truly a product.

Thus when the regulatory authorities seize a product,
they check with the original trade mark holder and the
moment the company denies having marketed the
particular batch, it is labelled "Spurious" without
getting it chemically examined.

The raw material (bulk drug) cost of various medicines
in India is so low that it is foolish to make really
fake drugs in most cases. In fact in large majority of
cases, the cost of tableting, strip printing and
making and packagaing is far more than the cost of
ingredients. For example paracetamol is available in
India at Rs. 152 per kg (US$3.40). One needs just
5000mg (5g) for a strip of 10 tablets. The raw
material cost is barely Indian rupees 0.76 (less than
2 US cents) while the sale price is over Rs. 7. Hence
whether one uses real paracetamol or chalk powder,
there is little difference in cost. However in
expensive medicines (very few) the situation is

Actually the broad definition is being used by large
manufacturers to settle trade mark issues with
offenders under the garb of protecting people's

The figure of 20% or so drugs in India being fake is
absurd. That is not say that there are no fake
medicines but the often quoted figure is sky high
mainly because of the legal definition.

Dr. Chandra M. Gulhati
(Monthly Index of Medical Specialities)
New Delhi, India.
e-mail: indianmims@yahoo.co.in
Tel: 91 11 26433115/26234875
Fax: 91 11 26463720

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