Despite drug seizures, pharma firm’s Doaba ‘links’ unexplored - ECAS Punjab

Despite drug seizures, pharma firm’s Doaba ‘links’ unexplored

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Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 30

Right before the 2019 General Elections in the state, during a joint inspection by STF, Narcotics Control Bureau and Drug Department, Clovidol tablets were seized on May 1 from two chemists at Kishanpura and on May 6 from a chemist at Adampur. On August 27, a father-son duo, who runs the fake pharma firm Neutec Healthcare Private Limited were arrested by the Punjab Police.

While Clovidol (the composition of which is 100 mg Tramadol) is manufactured by Neutech Healthcare, the firm's Doaba operations lie unexplored for over a year, even as there were three Clovidol seizures last year, said sources.

Additionally, during the Covid pandemic as well, the banned drug Tramadol continues to sell with impunity. The latest seizure of Tramadol is as recent as July 2, when two persons were arrested with 3,000 tablets at Basti Bawa Khel. However, no formal link has been drawn between the various chemists/ entities which continue to make these drugs available. Notably, the May 2019 seizures were part of an anti-drug action aimed at curbing circulation ahead of the elections. However, till date, the information regarding the supply chain hasn't been made public. The arrest of the Neutec Healthcare duo, however, makes it clear that illegal medicines manufactured by the fake pharma firm were in circulation in Jalandhar as early as May 2019.

Experts in the region said after a brief lull during the lockdown, Tramadol is freely available in the region. Dr Aman Sood of the De-Addiction Centre, Jalandhar, said: "During the lockdown, there was a break in the supply chain of all kinds of drugs. Addicts were not getting access to either Chitta or Tramadol. But since the lockdown was lifted, there has been an increase in the drop-out rate, which could be linked to easier availability. Earlier, the inaccessibility of Tramadol was a common complaint among addicts, but that is no more the case."

Pardeep Mattu, State Drug Controller-cum-Joint Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, said: "There are less than 100 wholesalers in the state who have sought permission to sell Tramadol. It is rarely available with chemists. The unauthorised sale of the drug might be preavalent but we are keeping a close check. We have developed a software through which one can check inventory of all chemists."

from The Tribune

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