WHO says 30 percent of the world's sub-standard drugs are produced in India. Of the 20,000 pharmaceutical companies that produce more than 3,000 brands, it is estimated 20 percent make sub-standard and fake medicines. The Indian drug mafia use popular brand names like Brufin, Iodex and Crocin and over-the-counter tablets for common cold, headaches and antibiotics. They are not only ineffective, but in some cases, a deadly cocktail of chemicals. The fakes look very similar to the genuine article and can easily fool untrained consumers. Despite India's efforts at controlling this illegal practice, criminals have been let off the hook because of badly designed laws.
Fake drugs from India are already creating havoc in far-flung countries like Uzbekistan, South Africa, Bangladesh and Myanmar. With such a porous border between us, it won't be long before we too are completely flooded with bad medicine. The Indian parliament will soon debate a proposal for the death penalty to those found guilty of producing fake medicines.
A recent lab investigation discovered that Gujarat-based Pharma Laboratories was producing medicines that were missing key chemicals. 'Ampicilin 250 milogram', produced by Mumbai-based Economic Pharma, had only white powder in the pill case, while Sinclair Pharma's 'Paracetamol' tonic for children, batch SP 001, didn't contain even a trace of paracetamol.