FDA busts bogus medicine racket, seizes 21,600 ‘antibiotic’ tablets at Nagpur hospital | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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FDA busts bogus medicine racket, seizes 21,600 ‘antibiotic’ tablets at Nagpur hospital

Feb 04, 2024 07:12 AM IST

The state FDA busted a racket involving 'substandard' medicines in government-run hospitals in Nagpur. Over 21,000 tablets were confiscated. Three individuals have been booked.

NAGPUR: The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) busted a racket involving ‘substandard’ medicines in government-run hospitals in the Nagpur district on Friday.

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In a major action, around 21,600 Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets were confiscated by the FDA from the medicine stores under the Nagpur Civil Surgeon at Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH). The FDA’s intervention followed the discovery of ‘substandard’ antibiotics during the testing of samples, which lacked the essential composition.

“The samples were sent to the government laboratory for testing, and the results indicated a complete absence of medicinal value in the tablets. In response to the findings, we conducted a raid at the government store at IGGMC and seized a stock of 21,600 tablets,” informs Neeraj Lohakare, the assistant commissioner (Food and Drug Administration).

According to the senior FDA official, as part of its routine sample testing exercise in February 2023, the FDA collected drug samples from Kalmeshwar rural hospital in the district under the supervision of drugs inspector Nitin Bhandarkar. Subsequently, the samples were sent to the government laboratory in Mumbai for testing.

The FDA official revealed that fake Ciprofloxacin tablets, prescribed for various bacterial infections, worth crores of rupees, had been distributed to several government-run hospitals across Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Nagpur. The substandard medicine was supplied to hundreds of patients before tests exposed its quality issues. The antibiotic tablets, intended for treating bacterial infections from urinary tract infections to pneumonia, were distributed in 2022 and 2023 in government-run civil hospitals across the district.

In connection with the seizure, three individuals, including a Thane resident already in jail in a similar case, have been booked. An FDA official mentioned that the medicine was procured through the government contract process last year and was recently seized from the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital, the supplier to state-run facilities in the district.

A case has been registered under Sections 420, 468, 471, 276, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code at Kalmeshwar police station in the district. Further investigation revealed that the spurious drug was manufactured by a fictitious company named Refined Pharma in Gujarat, a company that does not exist anywhere in India, Lohakare further informed.

“We have booked Vijay Shailendra Choudhary of Thane, Hemant Dhondiba Mule, a resident of Latur, and Mihir Trivedi of Bhiwandi in connection with this case. The prime accused, Choudhary, is already incarcerated in a bogus medicine sale case. Choudhary had supplied the tablets to Trivedi, who then passed them onto Mule for distribution to government facilities,” said Yogesh Kamale, police inspector at Kalmeshwar police station.

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