Gujarat regulator busts nationwide scam of spurious Mucormycosis drug sale

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Ahmedabad, Jul 7(PTI) The Food and Drugs Control Administration (FDCA) of Gujarat on Wednesday claimed to have unearthed a nationwide racket of manufacturing and selling fake Mucormycosis medicines and seized tablets and oral syrup bottles worth over Rs 50 lakh.

Primary investigation has revealed that Telangana-based firm Astra Generics Pvt Ltd was involved in manufacturing fake Posconazole tablets and oral syrup for Mucormycosis patients and sold them across the country with the help of Hyderabad-based marketing firm Aspen Biopharm, said a FDCA release.

Posconazole is a highly sought after drug to treat Mucormycosis, a rare but serious fungal infection which has infected several recovered and recovering coronavirus patients across the country.

'Taking advantage of this high demand, Astra Generics, without any licence, started manufacturing that drug under the brand name Cuvicon and sold it across the country with the help of Aspen Biopharm' said FDCA Commissioner HG Koshia.

Gujarat is the first state to detect that Astra Generics's Cuvicon sold across the country is a fake medicine, he said.

The Gujarat FDCA recently learnt that this spurious Mucormycosis drug is being sold in the state. Based on the information, FDCA teams raided several places in Gujarat and sent the samples of seized medicines for analysis, the release said.

'On July 6, the laboratory tests confirmed that all the samples were spurious. We have seized 1,440 tablets and 182 bottles of syrup worth Rs 50.18 lakh during the raids. While one tablet costs around Rs 1,000, one syrup bottle of 105 ml was sold for Rs 20,500 to needy patients,' said Koshia.

While several distributors and wholesalers of Gujarat are already on the radar of authorities for selling this spurious drug, the FDCA has alerted the Drug Controller General of India to issue necessary advisory to other states where, too, fake medicines have been sold, he said.

The FDCA has started an investigation into the scam to find out how many tablets and syrup bottles were sold to needy patients by the distributors in Gujarat, the official said.

Koshia said a case under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act will be lodged against the culprits upon completion of the investigation. PTI PJT RSY RSY

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