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Crime Branch Probe On Spurious Drugs

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday ordered a Crime Branch investigation into the circulation of alleged spurious COVID-19 medicines in the state.

Mr.Patnaik issued such a direction after the State Drugs Controller confirmed that the tablets circulated in the name of “Favimax-400″, recovered from a Cuttack medicine store, was fake.

A special team comprising officials of Health department and Odisha continued its raid in 14 districts and recovered a large number of COVID-19 medicines suspected to be spurious.

“Of the nine different kinds of medicines seized from a medicine store in Cuttack one Favipiravir has been found spurious. A total of 58,000 Faviravir was brought to Odisha of which 40,600 had been sent to Madhdaypradesh,”  State Drugs Controller Ananda Prasad Das told Media.

The Drugs Controller said, “We have seized nine drugs from the medicine store in Cuttack. While Favimax-400 has been found to be fake, reports on other medicines are awaited.”

The authorities had also seized a large quantity of “spurious” Favipiravir tablets in Cuttack on June 10. They also recovered “fake” drugs in other places including Bhubaneswar, on Friday.

“Seizures were made in Bolangir, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Kalahandi  and Bhubaneswar . So far raids continue in 14 districts,” a senior official said.

Earlier, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra had ordered a probe into the alleged fake COVID-19 medicine circulation and also directed authorities to initiate legal action against the persons responsible for this illegal activities.

State government launched the raid on fake medicine while acting on a tip-off from the Food and Drugs Administration, Maharashtra on spurious Favipiravir tablets allegedly manufactured by a company in Himachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the probe has revealed that there was no such medicine manufacturer in Himachal Pradesh. The Cuttack-based company had purchased 58,000 “Favimax-400” tablets from an entity located at Gautam Budh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

Of the purchased quantity, the Cuttack-based buyer supplied 40,600 tablets to another entity in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.

Of the available stock of 17,400 tablets, 400 were taken for statutory testing and the remaining ones were seized under the provision of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act and Rules, the official said.

The state government has also informed the authorities of Madhya Pradesh on the supply details of “Favimax-400” tablets to Gwalior, the official said.

Nine other drugs allegedly manufactured by the same entity have also been purchased by the Cuttack-based firm. To ascertain the authenticity of these drugs and assess their quality, statutory samples of these nine drugs were taken and balance stocks were seized, another official said.