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Rediff.com  » Business » Beware! Fake medicines dumped in Kerala

Beware! Fake medicines dumped in Kerala

Last updated on: July 4, 2009 

Beware! Fake medicines dumped in Kerala

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Arun Lakshman

Kerala, which is already reeling under a severe fever virus, is facing another major problem. Fake medicines are being dumped in the state through retail chains run by doctors and pharmacists.

These fake medicines include several life-saving drugs, as well as common medicines like Paracetamol. These low-quality drugs are imported from China and freely available in the market.


Image: A steamroller destroys fake medicine in east China.
Photographs: Reuters
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While medicine manufacturers give a maximum sales commission of 20 per cent, spurious drug makers sweeten the deal by offering medical shop owners lucrative commissions that range from 30 to 50 per cent.

In most cases, doctors are innocent; pharmacists, who change the prescription at the store, are turning out to be the major culprits. They also convince buyers to save a few rupees by not to demand a receipt as this means they avoid paying sales tax.


Image: A dancer at Kerala's Onam celebrations.
Photographs: Dipak/Reuters
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Kerala has a woeful shortage of drug controllers. The state has 30 drug controllers, each of whom only has permission to check six medical shops a month. Besides, only one laboratory in the state has permission to check the veracity of the medicines.

When contacted, State Minister for Health P K Sreemathy said the state has a foolproof mechanism to check the authenticity of medicines but would look into the allegation with a fresh mind and take immediate action against the culprits, if any.

A CPI-M leader from Thalassery told rediff.com that the party would investigate the issue. He added that the CPI-M would not allow spurious drug manufacturers and sellers to operate in the state.


Image: A tea plantation in Kerala
Photographs: Courtesy Keralatourism.org
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