217 retailers booked for illegal sale of codeine syrups

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In a major crackdown on retailers selling narcotic drugs illegally, the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has booked 217 drug retailers for illegal sale of codeine containing cough syrups at exorbitant prices.

Based on a tip-off, the state regulator raided 323 drug retail stores in Ahmedabad, Surat, Himmatnagar, Patan and Nadiad in the last two months and canceled 42 licenses and suspended 169 to curtail the menace of illegal sale of narcotics and prescription drugs.

There are total 39, 600 drug retailers and wholesalers in the state of Gujarat.

According to Gujarat FDCA commissioner Dr H G Koshia, “A joint raid was made in collaboration with Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) as codeine phosphate falls under the narcotic drug. We are also in talks with Himachal Pradesh (HP) drug controller as the cough syrups have been manufactured in HP.”

He further explained that the cough syrups were sourced from a firm named Bhagwati Pharma based in Banduka in Gujarat. We nabbed the culprit Dinesh Jadav from whom we seized 1680 bottles of 100 ml each sold at exorbitant rate of Rs. 100 to 150 against the MRP of Rs. 25. Total of 2400 bottles were seized of the total estimated amount of Rs. 2.5 lakh

Brand names of the cough syrup seized were V-Star cough syrup manufactured by C B Healthcare, HP, Rexcon manufactured by Vidit Healthcare, HP, Rexcod cough syrup manufactured by Reyansi Pharma, HP, Safecod cough syrup manufactured by Biogenic Drug Pvt Ltd, HP and Rexking manufactured by Applefield International in HP.

Gujarat FDCA also detected a case of illegal sale of codeine containing cough syrups at Om Hospital in Vadodara where the accused Ramesh Goswami was found illegally stocking and selling 20 bottles of 100 ml each and also Kirpal Dabhi found selling 661 bottles of 100 ml without license.

As per official reports, Gujarat FDCA has been monitoring rampant misuse and abuse of cough syrup brands over the past two years. It has also been observed that stockists have been found violating the conditions of license as per Rule 65 of the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Rules.

Earlier this year, it canceled 27 and suspended 35 drug retail licenses for illegal sale of codeine containing cough syrup which was part of its random surveillance of 150 drug retail stores in Ahmedabad.

The regulations of narcotics drugs or Schedule X are more severe than that for psychotropic substances under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Schedule X comprises of 15 drugs currently as compared to 17 earlier. Meprobamate, methylphenidate and amphetamine are some of the drugs which can be misused.

In order to have separate regulation to check unauthorized sale of antibiotics, a separate schedule called as Schedule H1 has also been introduced under the D&C Rules to regulate sale of 46 drugs exclusively which also include codeine containing cough syrups.