Seized Fake Antibiotics Were Meant To Be Supplied To GPs

Ahmedabad: In a shocking revelation from the bust of a fake antibiotics racket in Gujarat, Mirror has learnt that the target audience of these miscreants was not just medical stores, but doctors practicing in villages and small towns of Gujarat. The miscreants, whose supply of spurious drugs contained little to no Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), had only managed to reach wholesalers before the network was busted across four states. They had collected advance payments on supply of these medications to doctors, said Gujarat FDCA chief Dr HG Koshia.

In state wide raids last week, the Gujarat FDCA seized fake branded antibiotics with a market value of Rs 1.75 crore from a factory in Changodar, Ahmedabad as well as from 11 wholesalers across five districts – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Kutch and Sabarkantha. Further investigation into the case had led to three more wholesalers being unearthed with these spurious and potentially dangerous products, with the web of this network having been found in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as well.

The miscreants, Naresh Dhanwania, the owner of M/S Piecan Pharma Pvt Ltd, and Divyesh Jagani, the owner of M/s Pharma Chem, had chosen to manufacture the beta lactam class of antibiotics because of higher profit margins as well as huge demand. Notably, the original company – Medicaman Organics Ltd – of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, whose license they had forged, does not even manufacture these drugs themselves.

The wholesalers from whom these spurious drugs were seized, mostly supplied to General Practitioners (GPs) and Family Physicians who would be looking for cheaper drugs and most of the time, preferably sold without invoices, in order to evade taxes, said Dr Koshia. Had these spurious antibiotics not been seized, they would have most likely been dispensed in rural and semi-urban areas from small clinics, who, officials said are the perfect targets for the grey drugs market. The Gujarat FDCA is trying to obtain names of potential buyers of these drugs, both – doctors and pharmacists.

Primary lab reports of the products being churned out at the backyard factory in Ahmedabad showed that both, Amoxiclav as well as Cefixime 200 mg tablets had ‘zero’ API content, meaning they were placebos at best.
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Further, both types of Azithromycin – 250 mg and 500 mg – had just 14% API content. Dr Koshia said that this is worse than suboptimal and the presence and consumption of such drugs would not only fail to heal patients but is a major factor in developing Antibiotic Resistance (AMR). Notably, out of the three different ingredients in the combination drug ASP being manufactured by the miscreants; tests found only the presence of Paracetamol, while no traces of Aceclofenac or Serratiopeptidase were found in the spurious product.

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