The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has canceled licenses of 82 retailers for illegal sale of narcotics and psychotropic substances like Tramadol, Alprazolam and codeine containing cough syrups without a valid bill and prescription in violation of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act.
Based on the intelligence reports, the Gujarat FDCA raided over 997 such retailers and suspended licenses of 900 retailers for contravention to the D&C Act, 1940. Four firms have also been prosecuted for the violations.
There are around 40, 000 drug wholesalers and retailers in Gujarat.
According to Gujarat FDCA commissioner Dr. H G Koshia, “Done over a period of one year, raids were a part of a massive crackdown on drug peddlers to deter them from rampant sale of prescription medicines for substance abuse.
The retail chemists in and around academic institutions, slums and industrial areas targeted vulnerable groups and sold these drugs through an illegal supply chain.”
The state drug regulator had earlier 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 past two months and canceled 42 licenses and suspended 169 to curtail the menace of illegal sale of narcotics and prescription drugs.
Dr. Koshia further informed that the cough syrups were sourced from a firm named Bhagwati Pharma based in Banduka in Gujarat.
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.
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.