News Pharma Industry

Phensedyl: When medicine becomes malady: smuggling of cough syrup Phensedyl rampant, even fakes join the fray


Smuggling of the popular medicine to neighbouring countries has acquired monstrous proportions. Manufacturer Abbott and law-enforcement agencies are fighting the menace, but the impact has been minimal. What’s worse, fly-by-night counterfeiters have joined the illicit trade, supplying spurious products. How is such a racket flourishing when regulations restrict the use of Phensedyl and stipulates its sale only under medical prescription?

That July morning in 1997, Sikkim Police head constable RB Tiwari was manning a checkpost at Rangpo, a hilly town in Sikkim bordering Kalimpong in West Bengal. While checking a truck, Tiwari found a trunk stashed with medicines hidden behind the driver’s seat. He seized 22 bottles of the popular cough syrup brand Phensedyl and 300 tablets of nitrazepam, a drug used to treat insomnia and sleep disorders. A chargesheet was issued against the

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