09 August 2010
By Vivek Narayanan
In March, drug control department officials busted a major racket involving the sale of expired drugs. Several cartons of such drugs, re–labelled and stocked in an apartment in Purasawalkam, were seized. Worth several lakhs, they were to be sent to medical stores across the city.
The kingpin, Meenakshi Sundaram, and a few others were arrested and chief minister M Karunanidhi ordered the health and police departments to crack down on racketeers.
"We want to keep a check. Due to the fault of some dealers, many good persons are forced to leave the industry. We do not want this to continue," said Suresh Ranka, a TNPDA member.
TNPDA zonal secretary P Elango said the pharma task force would mainly comprise members from the association. "We are planning to have two members in each district who will monitor the medicine sales and distribution there," he said.
Any member coming across a case of malpractice will have to inform the TNPDA headquarters which will then bring it to the notice of the police or the state drugs control department. "We have 1,400 members and want to ensure that fair trade happens across the state. Issues like selling expired drugs will not take place once this system is in place," he added.
Another issue of concern is the pricing of medicines. According to the All India Chemists and Druggists Federation (AICDF), only 74 types of medicines are listed in the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO). Nearly 324 medicines do not feature in it.
AICDF president Kailash Gupta said the centre was working on including the 324 medicines in the DPCO under the new drug policy expected in 2011.
AICDF secretary A N Mohan said: "As of now, manufacturers have the liberty to fix prices for the 324 types of medicines. If they are included in the DPCO, the pricing would be as per the directions of the government. Medicines for cancer and HIV, directly bought by the hospitals from manufacturers, should also be brought under the DPCO. This way the poor can also buy them," he added.
An Eye On The Pill
The pharma association is planning to set up a task force comprising members from the association to curb the sale of fake drugs and also overpricing of drugs
- On March 11, 2010, the drugs control department busted a major racket involving the sale of expired drugs and seized several cartons of expired drugs that were relabelled as fresh ones and stocked in an apartment in Purasawalkam
- The expired drugs worth several lakhs of rupees were being sent to medical stores across the city for resale
- There will be 1,400 members in the force. Two members will be posted in each district
Overpricing of medicines
- Only 74 molecules of medicines figure in the Drug Price Control Order. Over 324 molecules do not
- The manufacturers fix their own prices for these 324 medicines
- The TNPDA wants the 324 molecules also included in the new drug policy expected in 2011
- TNPDA also wants medicines for cancer and HIV, directly bought by the hospitals from manufacturers, to be brought under the new drug policy to make them over affordable