Published On : Sat, Feb 3rd, 2024

Health hazard: Major substandard medicine racket exposed in Nagpur’s Mayo Hospital

Stock of 21,600 ‘spurious’ tablets seized by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from IGGMCH
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Nagpur: In a significant operation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has exposed a major substandard medicine racket operating within a government-operated hospital in Nagpur. The FDA seized a total of 21,600 tablets of Ciprofloxacin, uncovering a deeply concerning situation involving the procurement and distribution of compromised pharmaceuticals, a report in a local newspaper said.

According to the report, the illicit drug stockpile was discovered at the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH), widely known as Mayo Hospital. The drugs, specifically 21,600 tablets of Ciprofloxacin, were procured through the contract process last year by the District Civil Surgeon.

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The report further said that the prime accused in this case are identified as Vijay Shailendra Choudhary, a resident of Thane; Hemant Dhondiba Mule, a resident of Latur; and Mihir Trivedi, a resident of Bhiwandi. Kalmeshwar Police have booked the accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 471 (using forged documents), 276 (sale of adulterated drugs), and 34 (common intention).

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Laboratory tests conducted at the Government Laboratory in Mumbai confirmed that the seized drug lacked any medicinal value. The FDA initiated the investigation after collecting samples from a Rural Hospital in Kalmeshwar in March 2023. The results, received in December 2023, indicated a complete absence of medicinal value in the Recip-500 tablets containing Ciprofloxacin.

Responding to the findings, the FDA conducted a raid at the Government store at IGGMCH and confiscated the entire stock of 21,600 tablets.

A case has been registered against the accused at Kalmeshwar Police Station under multiple sections, reflecting the severity of the offenses.

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. The prime accused, Choudhary, has a history of involvement in cases related to the sale of counterfeit medicines.

Choudhary supplied the adulterated drug to Trivedi, who subsequently passed it on to Mule, ultimately reaching the Government hospital. This highlights a well-coordinated and sinister distribution chain.

The FDA’s crackdown on this substandard medicine racket at IGGMCH has exposed a grave threat to public health and safety. The involvement of government officials in the procurement process raises concerns about the integrity of the healthcare system. Authorities are urged to take stringent actions against the accused and implement measures to prevent such incidents in the future. Public awareness campaigns may also be essential to inform citizens about the risks associated with counterfeit drugs and ensure their vigilance in healthcare matters.

Counterfeit drugs increase infections

In response to the incident, a FDA official revealed the dangers of consuming counterfeit drugs, stating that such drugs do not produce the desired results and may even lead to an increase in infections. Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to treat various bacterial infections, including bone and joint infections, intra-abdominal infections, certain types of infectious diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, typhoid fever, and urinary tract infections, among others.

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