Telangana DCA raids growing counterfeit medicine manufacturers

Medical experts warn against consumption

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Testing, verification and determining pharmaceutical counterfeit medicines is detramental

The Telangana Drugs Control Administration (DCA) targeted 10 facilities since December 2023, resulting in the confiscation of nearly 1,171 kg of counterfeit medications worth ₹9.76 crore. The organization conducted a raid on an unlicensed drug manufacturing facility in Annarugudem Village, Tallada Mandal, Khammam district on 22 December. The raid uncovered a stock of approximately 935 kg of drugs at the premises. Medical experts warn that the consumption of such illicit drugs poses a severe threat to health.

Counterfeit drugs are falsely manufactured medicines designed to replicate reputable products, often from well-known brands. These fraudulent medications may even bear the details of non-existent manufacturers, creating a facade of legitimacy for fictitious companies. Not only do counterfeit drugs fail to address the intended medical conditions, but they can also lead to disastrous consequences for patients over a period of time.

Kiran Madala, Scientific Committee convenor of Indian Medical Association-Telangana told The Hindu the potential impact on trust in medicines, healthcare providers, and health systems. He notes that the market for fake drugs, which may appear real until close inspection is expanding. “The prolonged consumption of such counterfeit drugs can have serious implications for vital organs like the kidneys and liver, potentially leading to fatal outcomes due to impurities present in illicit substances. While substandard medicines may not have an immediate negative impact, the unpredictable nature of fake drugs, where consumers are unaware of the actual content, poses a significant health risk,” says Madala.

The Telangana Drugs Control Administration (DCA) said it has conducted a raid on an unlicensed drug manufacturing facility in Annarugudem Village, Tallada Mandal, Khammam district. The facility, owned by Aspen Biopharma and operated by Upender Reddy, was found to be engaged in the illicit manufacturing of drugs, specifically active pharmaceutical ingredients — Valsartan and Clopidogrel, per a statement issued by VB Kamalasan Reddy, director general (Drugs Control).

The raid carried out on 22 December, uncovered a stock of approximately 935 kg of drugs at the premises. Sateesh Reddy, the prime accused in this case, had previously evaded arrest on December 4 when DCA officers raided his unlicensed premises in Macha Bollaram, Hyderabad, seizing counterfeit anticancer drugs and other drugs valued at ₹4.35 crores. The recent raids by DCA officials in December unveiled a disturbing trend with fake medicines falsely labeled under the names of known companies such as Sun Pharma, Glenmark Pharma, Aristo Pharmaceuticals, and Torrent Pharma.

Local police assisted the DCA officers during the operation. The seized stock was taken into custody, and samples were lifted for analysis. Further investigations will be conducted, and appropriate legal action will be taken against all individuals involved in the illicit manufacturing of drugs, including Sateesh Reddy.

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