India: A Hub For Fake Medication


India is one of the most highly populated countries in the world, with a population of 1.354 billion reported in the year 2016. A country with such a high population is deemed to have a high death rate, but the shocking truth is that the leading cause of deaths in India is due to fake medications. Drugs that are prescribed by the health specialists to cure diseases are altered most of the time.
According to the World Health Organization, about thirty-five percent of the counterfeit drugs sold in the world are from India. A whopping 20 percent of the drugs manufactured and sold in India are fake. The counterfeit medicine market of India earns about 4000 crore rupees per year.


The Head of a Delhi agency that works alongside the police to catch false drugs selling criminals told the Washington Post that the fake medicine looks completely real. A layperson can never be able to distinguish the counterfeit drugs from the real deal. The biggest giveaway of counterfeit medicine sales is when someone is selling drugs at a very cheap rate.
The drugs are stuffed in sleek packaging and carry labels with the names of enormous medicine manufacturers such as Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline. The false medication is then sold to Indian customers and many other developed nations all around the globe.


Many of the Indian officials have claimed that this criminal activity has deeply affected the booming pharmaceutical drug industry of India and also its exports, which are mostly to Latin American and African countries. To control the distribution of fake drugs, the Indian health ministry has started a new program in which a reward of about 55000 dollars is given to anyone who can provide information regarding this illegal drug trade.
The Times of India reported that a 40-year-old named Ashok Kumar, with his 50-year-old partner Bijendar Singh would go to the Ajmeri railway station and deliver fake drugs. The police caught them with four cartons of counterfeit medications while they were about to drop the boxes.
The gang has units based in Badri and Rishikesh, where they used to fill up the drug capsules with leftover salts obtained from pharmacy units.
A raid was also conducted at a factory in Delhi by the police was stripping, and batching machines were found. These machines were used to pack the drugs in foil and then supplied to various medicine distributors in the city.
A research carried out by the Department of Food Safety and Drug Administration concluded that over 10 percent of the fake medication had been distributed into the market, and 38 percent of the medication has been deemed to be ineffective due to their low quality.


According to experts, the world wide fake drug industry is worth 90 billion dollars and causes about 1 million deaths per year, and this number is increasing every year due to an increase in drug resistance.
Many false drug manufacturers have been caught sticking fraudulent labels on products that have expired, jam-packing small amounts of the real ingredients in popular licensed brand packaging, filling the vials with other liquids such as water, and adding chalk powder to the medicine packets.
Many fake drugs have been caught on international airports. In June of 2010, Nigerian officials confiscated a carton of antibiotics containing artificial ingredients with a Made in India label. The Nigerian officials later told the public that drugs were shipped via Frankfurt by a Chinese company. A year before that, in a very similar incident, fake malaria drugs were caught in Nigeria that has arrived from China again with an Indian tag.
At one point in time, the government of Sri Lanka banned drug imports from India due to their fake nature after the officials have found a substandard medicine shipment.
Most of the counterfeit drugs are manufactured in highly polluted areas, and shockingly the demand for these drugs can be witnessed all over the world by countries such as Russia, Nepal, Myanmar, and South Africa. Middle-income markets have been impacted the most by these Indian manufactured fake drugs.

Fizzah Temur
Fizzah Temur

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