Five medical stores have been issued notices by the Food and Drug Administration FDA for noted discrepancies in their official records. The stores are localed on MG Road, in Kondhwa, Bibvewadi, Pashan and Hadapsar in Pune.
The license of two more stores has been cancelled, after the records indicate sale of cough syrups containing narcotic drug codeine phosphate.
The state of Maharashtra has busted a series of cases of illegal sale of cough syrups reported by the FDA. Only last month, the FDA official found that a drug wholesaler, a medical store owner and a medical representative were involved in violation of the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
Codeine in cough syrups is not completely banned in Maharashtra; however, there are legal restrictions on the sale of its use to contain abuse. It is also a poor man’s morphine, commonly used among youngsters for its sleep inducing property.
As reported by TOI “During our surprise checks, we found several irregularities in the sale and purchase of cough syrups containing codeine phosphate in the city. The discrepancies indicated illegal sale of these syrups. We have already cancelled licences of two medical stores. Besides, we have also issued show-cause notices to five other stores located on MG road, Kondhwa, Bibvewadi, Pashan and Hadapsar,” said Suhas Mohite, assistant commissioner (drugs), FDA.
Mohite said, “Since the syrup contains an addictive substance, included in the narcotics substances’ drug category, the chances of it being misused or abused are quite high. We are going to intensify the drive against clandestine sale of the drug.”
There are seven licensed wholesalers in Pune who supply cough syrup containing codeine phosphate to retail drug stores. “We had found that one of the wholesalers in Sadashiv Peth had been selling a sizable quantity of co ugh syrup Ascoril-C, which contains codeine phosphate.This made us suspicious.When we investigated further, we found that the wholesaler sold 360 bottles of the syrup on the same day to three medical stores, each receiving 120 bottles. When we approached these stores, we found that they had not received the consignment nor had they ordered the cough syrup from the wholesaler,” Mohite said.
“We suspect a big network involved in this clandestine sale of codeine-containing cough syrups. All this activity is based on illegal purchases.The illegal stock is sold to drug codeine phosphate addicts at a very high price,” said a senior FDA official from Mumbai.