Gujarat: Starch sold as mucormycosis medicine

July 13, 2021

AHMEDABAD: While desperate relatives made beelines outside pharmacies for crucial drugs for their loved ones battling mucormycosis, little did they know that the posaconazole drug sold to them under the brand name Cuvicon was actually starch powder. This is the country’s first detected case of fake mucormycosis drugs.

The state food and drugs administration (FDCA) last week tackled the counterfeit drug being supplied by a Telangana firm which had no licence for manufacturing the drug. The company produced tablets and syrups claiming it had posaconazole, which is approved as prophylaxis for invasive fungal infections in patients. “Generally, after amphotericin-B injection is administered, doctors prescribe posaconazole tablets or syrup to patients with mucormycosis. Each tablet costs Rs1,000 and a bottle of syrup costs roughly Ps 20,500,” says Gujarat FDCA commissioner HG Koshia.
The FDCA had received lab reports on Tuesday which confirmed that the tablets were counterfeit. It is worth pointing out that within a span of eight months the FDCA had detected a range of Covid counterfeit drug scams which include tocilizumab, remdesivir, favipiravir and now posaconazole. In Ahmedabad, Siddha pharmacy, and in Surat, Ambika pharma located near Jhapa Bazaar, used to procure the drugs from the manufacturer based in Turkapa Ili town in Hyderabad, called Astra Generics Private Limited. The Telangana-based marketing firm Aspen Biopharm is said to have supplied the counterfeit drugs to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Surat based pharmacies. According to the press release by FDCA, Vardha man Pharma in Paldi, Shukan Medica Is on Science City Pad and Delvich Healthcare at Sola Bhagwat Vidyapith were selling the counterfeit drug.
In the state capital, Gandhinagar, the fake drug was being sold from Polvet Care Pharmacy in Sector 26.”We fear that the marketing firm Aspen has been selling the counterfeit drug to many pharmacies across the country. We have alerted various state FDCA offices regarding this,” says Koshia.
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