MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
The Nepali market is flooded with banned, fake and obsolete drugs. Dealers have been found to tamper with expiry dates and sell them in the market, while banned drugs are being sold under the trademark of renowned Indian pharmaceutical companies.
According to Ashok Shrestha of Shubh International, the banned methane parathion is being marketed as a product of Wire Crop Science and Hindustan Pulverising Mills. Similarly, the banned monocrotophus is being sold as a product of the Indian company Dhanuka and Agro Chemicals. According to Sabitri Baral at the Pesticides Registration and Management Division, fungicides were found labelled as products of Indian Synjenta India Ltd in Chitwan last year.
Chloride, DDT, dieldrin, andrin, aldrin, hectochlore, mirex, texaphene, BHC, linden, organomercury fungicides, methyl parathion, and monocrotophus, among others, are banned but almost all these products are available in the Nepali market, according to the Pesticides Registration Division.
According to Chhotelal of Birgunj Seed Storage, methyl parathion is marketed as a product of Dhanuka Agritech Ltd and the indophil, babistin (fungicides) and thymine available in Nepali market are fake products. "All fake pesticides come from India," he said.
As for registered pesticides, dealers affix a new date of expiry on outdated drugs and sell them. "An original indophil M 45 costs Rs 220 but the same product is made available for Rs 160 in the Nepali market," said Shrestha. This has become a headache for genuine drug retailers.
According to the Pesticide Registration and Management Division, there are 55 registered companies and firms that import pesticides. They imported 581,190 kilograms of pesticides worth Rs 207 million for this fiscal year, below last year imports. The dealers claim this is due to the illegal import of fake and banned drugs from across the border.
Baral blames it on weak regulations on pesticides. The Pesticide Act 1991 and its first amendment in 2008 have a provision of a maximum fine upto Rs 5,000 and seizure of products for trading illegal pesticides. Baral says this is not comparable to the damage such illegal drugs can do.