Nine of 59 samples of hand-sanitisers that Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Haryana sent for quality tests were found to be substandard, sources said—a development that poses serious questions over the quality of potentially life-saving goods like hand-santizers and facemasks at a time when a global pandemic continues to unleash chaos.
The FDA had sent some 158 samples for testing in early June after there were complaints of substandard products. Health Minister Anil Vij had ordered quality testing to be conducted on products across Haryana. Authorities have got back results of 59 of those samples.
Masks and hand sanitizers are recommended measures against COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far infected over 26,000 people in Haryana and claimed over 300 lives. “The samples of hand sanitisers that have failed quality test are found to have lower content of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol,” said Commissioner Food and Drugs Administration Ashok Kumar Meena.
Central government guidelines say hand sanitisers should have 75 per cent content of isopropyl alcohol or should have 60-80 per cent ethanol. “We are soon going to launch prosecution under Drugs and Cosmetic Act against these nine brands,” said Meena. He added, “Some of these firms are based in the state and some outside.”
No sample has been found containing the toxic methanol.
Eight First Information Reports have so far been registered against companies as well as individuals for counterfeit and overly-priced products. This includes a factory in Ambala, where authorities who raided the factory in March found three types of hand-santizers, two filling machines and printed labels.
Also in March, a retailer in Hisar was found selling hand sanitisers without a drug licence and without carrying details such as batch number, manufacturing number and name of the manufacturer on the product.
In April, a Gurugram company was found manufacturing and selling hand sanitisers without a licence. In June, a Kaithal retailer was caught manufacturing his own hand sanitisers by mixing ingredients in plastic drums. The building was unsanitary and followed no precaution to avoid contamination.
Later the same month, a Daman-based firm was found selling hand-sanitisers even though their licence only allowed them to make disinfectant for medical devices. A Faridabad factory unit manufacturing products in the name of other firms under unsanitary conditions was busted in June.