HYDERABAD : Tramadol, the pain-relieving opiate that was notoriously used by ISIS fighters to stay awake for long hours, may have been illegally exported from manufacturers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to war-torn countries, including Sudan.
Also known as the ‘ISIS drug’ on the street, it helps fight fatigue. Only recently, customs officials in Mumbai had arrested the director of an Andhra Pradesh company for exporting the drug to Sudan.
A Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official told TOI two cases of illegal export of the drug have been reported from Andhra and Telangana in 2022-23.
To curb exports, the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmaexcil) has decided to serve notices to Andhra Pradesh-based Safe Pharmaceuticals for smuggling Tramadol into Sudan.
Pharmexcil director general, R Uday Bhaskar told TOI, “The smuggling gives the Indian pharma industry a bad name. State drug controllers must keep a close watch on illegal manufacturing units and unaccounted exports or smuggling. In fact, the Centre will put in place a traceability system in place from August this year, allowing a product to be tracked from production to end retailer.”
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) smuggling report revealed that the agency seized 22 tonnes of Tramadol in 2019-20 and 152 tonnes in 2020-21.
In March 2022, NCB arrested promoters of a pharma company for exporting Tramadol to Pakistan via intermediary countries.