Fake medicines market forms a big portion of India's domestic drug market, and it is one of the highest growing markets in the country. What’s more, the biggest centre of spurious drugs is national capital region (NCR), which includes Delhi and its suburbs of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida. Estimates indicate that fake medicines constitute nearly one-third of all drugs sold in NCR.
The shocking revelation has been made in a paper, “Fake and Counterfeit Drugs In India –Booming Biz”, by industry body ASSOCHAM. The paper shows that fake drugs constitute US$ 4.25 billion of the total US$ 14-17 billion of domestic drugs market. If the fake drugs market grows at the current rate of 25%, it will cross US$ 10 billion mark by 2017, according to the paper.
Fake drugs were found to be available as popular medicines like Crocin, Voveran, Betadine, injections of calcium and syrups like Cosavil. The paper highlighted that around 25% of India's drugs are fake, counterfeit or substandard.
What makes fakes a thriving business
What drives trade in fake drugs is lack of adequate regulations, shortage of drug inspectors and a lack of lab facilities to check purity of drugs, adds the paper. It says the other key factors include storages of spurious drugs by the chemists, weaknesses in drug distribution system, lack of awareness among consumers and lack of law enforcement.
Other than the NCR, concentration of fake drugs was found to be present in Bahadurgarh, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Bhiwadi, Ballabhgarh, Sonepat, Hisar and Punjab. Agra is also increasingly becoming a hub for fake drugs in India, adds the paper.
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