The state food and drugs administration (FDCA) last week tackled the counterfeit drug being supplied by a Telangana firm which had no licence for manufacturing the drug. The company produced tablets and syrups claiming it had posaconazole, which is approved as prophylaxis for invasive fungal infections in patients. “Generally, after amphotericin-B injection is administered, doctors prescribe posaconazole tablets or syrup to patients with mucormycosis. Each tablet costs Rs 1,000 and a bottle of syrup costs roughly Rs 20,500,” says Gujarat FDCA commissioner HG Koshia.
The FDCA had received lab reports on Tuesday which confirmed that the tablets were counterfeit. It is worth pointing out that within a span of eight months the FDCA had detected a range of Covid counterfeit drug scams which include tocilizumab, remdesivir, favipiravir and now posaconazole. In Ahmedabad, Siddha pharmacy, and in Surat, Ambika pharma located near Jhapa Bazaar, used to procure the drugs from the manufacturer based in Turkapalli town in Hyderabad, called Astra Generics Private Limited. The Telangana-based marketing firm Aspen Biopharm is said to have supplied the counterfeit drugs to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Surat based pharmacies. According to the press release by FDCA, Vardhaman Pharma in Paldi, Shukan Medicals on Science City Rad and Delvich Healthcare at Sola Bhagwat Vidyapith were selling the counterfeit drug.
In the state capital, Gandhinagar, the fake drug was being sold from Polvet Care Pharmacy in Sector 26.
“We fear that the marketing firm Aspen has been selling the counterfeit drug to many pharmacies across the country. We have alerted various state FDCA offices regarding this,” says Koshia.
When asked how they detected the presence of the spurious medicine, Koshia explained that his intelligence division was tipped off on the availability of posaconazole in a few pharmacies in the city. “After we procured a few syrup bottles, we found that Cuvicon had not approached the FDCA offices in Telengana and Gujarat for manufacturing licence and supply of the drug. These samples were immediately sent to the laboratory for tests where they were reported to be counterfeit.”