New Delhi: In order to curb the nuisance of spurious drugs in the domestic market the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has granted the approval to a proposal of the Drug Controller General India (DCGI) to spot fake medicines.
The DCGI proposal plans to introduce a unique code on drug packs whether it is a bottle, strip or vial to ensure the authenticity of the medicine.
DTAB in its meeting held on 16th may 2018 deliberated on the matter and agreed for the introduction of trace and track mechanism for major 300 pharmaceuticals brands as a test trial on a voluntary basis.
This will soon help the patients to check whether the drug they have bought is counterfeit or genuine with just a WhatsApp message as the pharmaceutical companies are expected to print unique codes on their bestselling products in the next three months.
A senior government official told ET, “The move is supposed to help weed out counterfeits of the top 300 drug brands from the Indian market.”
According to the proposal, a 14-digit number will be printed on the labels of the top 300 pharmaceutical brands and these numbers will be unique to each strip and bottle sold in the market along with a mobile number provided by the company marketing the brand, the official explained ET.
Consumers can message this code to the designated contact number and they get a prompt response giving details about drug manufacturers’ name, batch number, manufacturing date, the expiry date of the medicine.
The official further informed that several companies and major associations had been in discussion with the government over this initiative and have agreed to it.
The official further added that the selection of the 300 brands under this track-and-trace mechanism will be based on the market size and the work was underway to collate the list of these products.
However, Pharma companies have shown their concern and are awaiting clarity on how it will work and who will be responsible for creating the portal that allots the numbers.
DG Shah, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance told ET, “If this improves access to genuine medicines and reduces counterfeit products, we will consent. But the responsibility of developing the portal for this and the allotment of unique serial numbers should be with the ministry of health.”
“For 300 brands, if you count the number of products, it runs into billions of products. Let’s see how the logistics are designed,” he told ET.
Medical Dialogues has reported in November 2017 that an estimated 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries is either substandard or falsified, according to new research from WHO.