Medical or medicinal drugs and their sale are a matter of life and death. Despite this urgency and its nature thereof, many cases have come to the surface in Kashmir, where counterfeit drugs have and are being sold, even over the counter. This is as alarming as can be and in lieu of this, the Drug and Food Control Organization (DFCO) has sent more than 100 samples of dubious drugs, most of them manufactured by top pharma companies, for tests after an alert on spurious drugs was issued in J&K by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
Apparently, the DFCO has collected nearly 110 samples of drugs manufactured by top companies from shops and hospitals during a week-long inspection which concluded on August 17. That counterfeit and dubious drugs are being sold under the generic brand names of major, well known and reputed firms is another alarming phenomenon. While it is too early to implicate these reputed firms and it stretches credulity to even believe that these might be indulging in dubious practices, but what cannot be ruled out is that slick operators are operating under the cover of reputed brands and firms. That is, what may be happening is that dubious operators manufacture drugs and then stamp these with the brand of reputed companies. But, whatever be the actual case, this trend or even phenomenon, given its import and ungainly consequences, needs to be looked into seriously, with vigor and then checked. Obviously, it is not merely the manufacturers of spurious medical drugs that must be investigated and then brought to the book but the entire network of suppliers, distributors and sellers. This would require painstaking investigation that busts not only the networks in contention but also puts a stop to these practices. The question is how? The mechanics of the question would best be answered by those who are experts but what can be posited here as a very significant corollary to it is that those found indulging in selling fake and spurious drugs must not only be given strict and exemplary punishment but also be publicly named and shamed. Given that the issue is of great import and seriousness in that it touches upon the welfare of almost everyone, potential and real, public naming and shaming can be pretty effective. In the final analysis, selling fake drugs means that the perpetrator is bereft of conscience and ethics. The punishment must then be proportionate to both the crime and criminal intent. It should not only deter potential perpetrators but also make them think twice or thrice before making illegal and unethical monies from this evil trade and practice.