Fake Chinese Drugs sport Made in India label
Last week, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria issued a press release stating that a large consignment of fake anti-malarial generic pharmaceuticals labelled ‘Made in India’ was found to have been produced in China. The Indian government has registered a strong protest with the Chinese mission and China’s foreign trade ministry. India’s high commissioner in the Nigerian capital Abuja, Mahesh Sachdev, had earlier written to the then commerce secretary G S K Pillai alerting him to this large seizure and stated, “While this is a case of a Chinese company exporting fake ‘Made in India’ labelled medicines which has been accidentally exposed, it is unlikely to be an isolated incident. Are MNCs trying to discredit India, China? Indian high commissioner to Nigeria Mahesh Sachdev had alerted the government about the rampant faking of Indian drugs. “Fake foreign-made generics carrying ‘Made in India’ labels can do tremendous harm to our interests. It not only dents our image and takes away our legitimate market share, but it also erodes the distinction between generic and fake medicines that we have been campaigning for at the WHO and WTO,’’ he had written to the then commerce secretary. Commerce ministry sources said, “We have had many complaints about such fake drugs from China being offloaded as Indian drugs in Ghana, S Africa, Ivory Coast and West Africa, in general wherever India has a substantial market share. But so far, there has been no formal complaint. This is the first time that such a large international consignment has been seized and this will be taken up strongly with the Chinese side.’’ Sachdev in his letter said that he had spoken to the director general of NAFDAC Dr Paul Orhii who had said that the Nigerian preference for generics made such cases of fake drugs more common. He expressed NAFDAC’s determination to curb the circulation of substandard fake medicines. India and China have been held responsible for fake drugs in the Nigerian market in particular and Africa in general. About 60% of the drugs in Nigeria are imported. Between 2001 and 2007, over 30 Indian and Chinese companies were banned in Nigeria. However, Dr Mira Shiva of the Initiative for Health Equity and Society said since both India and China were large manufacturers of generics, it would be in the interest of MNCs to label their drugs as substandard, so that they would have greater access to the African markets. She warned against the two countries trying to run each other down before ascertaining the facts in the case to rule out any orchestration, but added that India ought to be more careful to ensure the quality of the drugs.