Counterfeit drugs from China alarm Indian pharma regulator

Reports of spurious and sub-standard drugs from China landing on Indian shores have alerted Indian pharmaceuticals regulator DGCI, forcing it to take immediate steps to put a stop on it, an official said.


“It has come to notice that most of the cases of sub-standard drugs, drugs with dubious origin or suspected label are coming from China. To check such infiltration, we have put China on the radar,” said an official of the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) who did not wish to be named.

Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), estimated to be worth Rs 18,000 crore, are imported in India annually. China is the main source of importing drugs in bulk. About 60 per cent of the API comes from China, while the rest comes from Italy, Japan, Europe and the US.

Clandestine operators push spurious pharmaceutical ingredients labelled under the name of authorised importers which compromise patients’ safety, according to the official.


During checks, authorities often find that the drugs are not sourced from the Chinese manufacturers, whose names are referred to in the documents, he added.

Notably, India imports medicines like antibiotics, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancer and other regular drugs from several countries. In order to keep a tab on such imports, the government has put in place an electronic platform — ICEGATE — to check their quality and authenticity.

Under this programme, the government has framed uniform procedures for sampling and inspection of the drug consignments that come from foreign countries.



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