Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Fake Medicines in India, a Personal Experience

I just experienced the fact of fake medicines recently as I was taking a particular prescription drug. I had tried out the same drug as a "Physician's Sample" (My Dad being my Physician.) The drug worked incredibly well and was most effective. I decided to have a regular regimen of the drug for the prescribed duration and bought the drug from a medical shop. I had bought the drug of the same manufacturer. The result was no effect from the drug. The problem I experience is lack of sleep to which this drug was great help. It was most frustrating to find the same drug with the same pharmaceutical ingredients listed not working as the samples worked. No who said "demos are better than the actual software application" is true only for the Software Industry. The Pharmaceutical industry isn't far behind.

I later found an article from Indian Express: link to article which illustrates the problem of fake or adulterated drugs. It is generally accepted that 20-25% of the drugs with the label "made in India" are fake. The first article on this was run on medindia about seizure of fake medicines in Europe in 2005. This news item appeared in 2006. There are no effective enforcement agencies within India to ensure that fake medicines are identified early and the respective manufacturers penalized. Most drug inspectors either succumb to the loss of adequate time for inspection or to the vicissitudes of corruption that denies them from being able to execute their duty.

The worst part I found about fake medicines is that they extend from popular drugs, over-the-counter drugs and now to life-saving drugs. Unless citizens take a wake-up call and fight against such medication, there is absolutely no hope for getting rid of this problem. The companies blame it on agencies in their supply chain rather than taking responsibility themselves which could impact their brand name heavily. Further there is sporadic news about China introducing medication with a "made in India" label. While this is plausible, this may be only a follow-up to the fact that fake medication is unmonitored and tolerated in India.