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drugs: Export of drugs meant only for Indian market under DCGI lens

New Delhi: Alarmed by last year’s controversy of export of substandard cough syrups, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is scrambling to contain a fresh crisis, this time with drugs intended solely for the domestic market ending up in the international market.

The DCGI has asked all port offices to ensure that products meant for the “India market only” are not exported after receiving complaints about the unauthorised export of drugs meant for the local market.

In a letter to all the port offices and zonal officers, the DCGI said “this practice is to be stopped immediately”.

The drug regulator has directed state and zonal officers to “ensure that the products meant for India market only (as per label claim) should not be allowed for export. “This is for information and necessary compliance,” the DCGI said in a letter dated January 19, a copy of which was seen by ET.

A person in the know said complaints have been received that traders have been exporting drugs meant for the Indian market. “In some cases, trademark infringement has been reported,” the person said. Adverse reports on Indian drugs, such as the deaths of children in Gambia last year, have already dented the country’s well-earned recognition of being the pharmacy of the world.

“India’s reputation has already taken a beating after the deaths in Gambia due to cough syrups. The government is in no mood to take another jolt on its reputation,” a senior person in the know told ET. “We have to ensure that the country’s reputation doesn’t get affected due to these incidents,” he said.Probes had earlier revealed that a ‘Made in India’ cough syrup was linked to the deaths of over 70 children in Gambia last year. Since then, there have been several accusations of substandard cough syrups reaching other countries like Uzbekistan, US, Sri Lanka and Cameroon.

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