Monday, November 19, 2007


e –Voice Of Human Rights Watch – e-news weekly

Spreading the light of humanity & freedom

Editor: Nagaraj.M.R....vol.3…issue.36......17/11/2007



2. False Affidavits , Information Hiding – Crimes of supreme court of India & Public Servants







9. Mercenaries of death - The cancer of fake drugs that rules the markets is disturbing

10. Govt must take blame if fake drug lords are having a field day – ENSURE QUALITY CHECKING OF MEDICINES PROCURED FOR GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS

11. Indians found guilty in UK’s biggest fake drug rackets


- Another independence struggle in India needed ?

After 60 years of india's independence the lives of commoners is far worse than under britishers. The benefits of independence has reached only few , thus creating islands of few ultra rich people surrounded by vast sea of utterly poor. The rich people in nexus with those in power , are getting favourable laws enacted to suit their ends. Those in power are shamelessly enjoying 5-star luxuries all at tax payer's expense , while more then 50 million are starving to death.

The criminalization of politics , executive & judiciary is almost complete. The corruption has spread it's tentacles far & wide , there is corruption from womb to tomb ,from maternity hospital to grave yard. The injustices meated out , the atrocities perpetrated by by public servants are worse than britishers.

Ideally in a democracy, the legal recourse of grievance redressal / justice , when a commoner suffers injustice he can appeal to respective government official or police for justice , still if doesn't get justice he can appeal to court of law , further the aggrieved can get the appropriate law enacted through his M.P / M.L.A. The sad part in India is no public servant is neither aware of the value of our hard won independence or the working of democracy.

When all the legal recourses to justice fail to respond , to provide justice to the aggrieved , when corrupt judges-police-politician-public servants act as a criminal nexus & block justice delivery, the commoner has only 2 options , either to suffer in silence or to take law into his own hands & get justice on his own.

Take for instance Bombay riots case several VVIPs – cabinet ministers , police were found to be guilty of torture , murders of innocents by justice sri Krishna enquiry commission. The government is sitting over enquiry commission report. The court is not taking suo-motto action in public interests a result , the guilty ministers & police who are fit cases for death sentences are roaming free & commiting more crimes , anti-national activities.

In some cases , involving the rich &mighty ,higher police officials , the cover-up begins right from start ie FIR Registration. Police conduct name sake enquiry , investigation, suppress evidences , witnesses , destroy some of them , the prosecution takes a favourable stand putting up weak arguments. Naturally, the guilty official , minister is acquitted by court for lack of evidences. So, the guilty who should have been rightfully put behind bars , hanged goes scot-free , to commit more crimes , more anti-national activities.

In such cases , if the suffering public give the legal punishment to the guilty , which should have been given by the court but failed. Are not such acts of public, to uphold law & dignity , national security right & patriotic ? if any body terms it as crime , that means guilty VVIPs , police , public servants should be left unpunished allowing them to commit more crimes , anti-national activities. Is that right from national security angle ? is it equality before law & equitable justice ?

Do remember that our freedom fighters ,martyrs ,sri.kudiram bose ,subhash Chandra bose , bhagath singh , veer savarkar others who took violent path of independence struggle & killed inhuman british officers, police & judges have contributed valuably ,immensely to our freedom struggle. One of the main causes of origin of naxalism ,separatist movements is the rampant corruption & unaccountability of public servants in India.

In this back drop , in India anarchy is not far away. The days of suffering public ,killing their tormentors corrupt police , corrupt judges , corrupt tax officials ,etc is not far away. No police security , no SPG cover can protect those corrupt , as police & SPG personnel work for pay , perks and will be on the wrong side of law – protecting criminals. The suffering public fighting for their survival , on the right side of natural justice , protecting the nation.

If the authorities term this act as illegal , crime then are the acts of corrupt public servants legal ? is the cover-up of such corrupt acts by police , vigilance officials & some judges by mis quoting /misinterpreting , misusing law is right , legal ? the GOI has created , funded , supported , given training , arms & ammunition to various terrorist outfits like LTTE , MUKTHI BAHINI ,MQM in foreign countries , resulting in destruction , mass murders of innocents there . In india itself in assam , Kashmir , the GOI has created counter terrorist outfits to reduce the reach of terrorist groups. The bihar , jharkhand , chattisgarh state governments have created armed gangs SALWA JUDUM to counter naxal outfits , are all these acts of government right , legal ? the days of dogs death for corrupt is quite nearby. it is high time , to the corrupt to reform , repent themselves.

In our own experience, HRW didn't get justice from authorities in many cases of injustices brought before it , most shameful fact even supreme court of India failed to register PILs , even shameful supreme court of India even failed to give information as per RTI Act , utterly shameful supreme court of India failed to protect the fundamental rights of editor of HRW & obstructed him from performing his fundamental duties. Still, HRW believes in peace , democratic practices. HRW firmly believes that violence should not be practiced by anybody – neither state nor public.

Hereby, HRW urges the corrupt public servants to mend their ways , to uphold law & dignity of democratic institutions. Atrocities , violence , corruption breeds more violence , invites dog's death. Peace ,truth , honesty is the harbinger of prosperous democratic nation. Greetings to all my Indian brothers & sisters on the occasion of 61st independence day celebrations, let us build a true democratic India , free of corrupt public servants. JAI HIND. VANDE MATARAM.

Your's sincerely,


False Affidavits , Information Hiding – Crimes of supreme court of India & Public Servants

Many public servants are leading luxurious lifestyles , beyond the legal sources of their income. Many public servants are filing false affidavits about their annual income , wealth details to Election Commission of India / Vigilance Commission / other authorities , as the case may be. These authorities are not properly verifying these affidavits . many scams , scandals are coming to light day in & day out , politicians are accussing each other of involvement in scams. Whereas , the said authorities are keeping mum , as if those affidavits filed by tainted public servants are true.

The tainted public servants are not even providing full , right information to public as per RTI Act, lest the truth come out. Just imagine , even the supreme court of India violated RTI Act – failed to give information to our publication as per RTI Act , lest the truth – skeletons in judiciary comes out.

Some public servants , caught redhanded during luxurious spending , easily says that it is at their political paty's expense or their well wisher's expense. However no entries are found in the account books of said parties to that respect. The law forbids public servants from accepting gifts , hospitality , favours beyond the value of rupees one hundred ( Rs. 100 ) , as it may be a form of bribe.

Hereby , HRW urges the honourable supreme court of India , to enforce RTI Act , annual filing of affidavits by public servants , fool-proof verification of those affidavits by public committees comprising ordinary citizens as mandatory encompassing all public offices. As a first step , it must be enforced to judges , police personnel & tax officials . then alone , many socio-economic problems , corruption in India can be solved.

FAILURE OF CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES BY H.E.PRESIDENT OF INDIA & HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA – SHOW CAUSE NOTICE In the democratic india , whenever a citizen suffers from injustice , violation of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights / human rights he can appeal to the higher Authorities for justice , then to the next higher authority in the hierarchy . if it fails he can approach the police , courts of justice. Finally he can appeal to the first citizen of the country & supreme court of india . Now , corruption is more prevalent in police & judiciary. To my numerous appeals for justice , HRW's appeals for justice concerning public good , the public servants have failed to perform , the police have taken biased action & finally H.E.PRESIDENT OF INDIA , HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA are mum. They have failed to perform their constitutional duties. All the doors of justice are closed for me. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH has brought to the notice of government cases of rights violations , crimes , tax evasions by public servants & corporate bodies , it also offerred it's services in apprehending corporate criminals stealing crores of tax money. there was no response . the police & authorities are keen , over zealous in apprehending & prosecuting a pick-pcketer stealing Rs.10 , where as it cover-ups the crimes of corporate criminals stealing lakhs , crores of tax money. the government even rewards such corporate criminals with tax exemptions , subsidies , etc. Is it equitable justice ? true democracy of mahatma's vision ? This type of corrupt administration in india since independence has made the lives of commoners miserable and is the main driving force for the rise of NAXALISM , TERRORISM / SEPARATIST MOVEMENTS & UNDER WORLD. However violence is not the solution, violence breeds more violence & mahatma's democracy true swaraj cann't be set up on the basis of violence. When all the doors of justice are closed for a commonman ( sufferer of gross injustices ) without financial might or contacts , he has the following options : 1. to take law into his own hands & settle scores. But it is illegal although naturally justified . 2. to suffer more & more injustices reconciling to the fact , ground reality that democracy in india is fake only a facade. 3. To committ suicide to runaway from all injustices. But that is illegal & cowardice. 4. To spread awareness among public about corruption in police , judiciary , public service & to kindle the light of crusade in them within legal democratic frame work although presently sufferring from gross injustices. All in the hope that tommorrow will be bright & sunny , with the dawn of mahatma gandhi's swaraj. Your excellency & your honourable sir , kindly tell me – tell the common people which way to take & answer the show-cause notice. _____________________________________________________________________

SHOW-CAUSE NOTICE TO H.E.PRESIDENT OF INDIA & HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA. In india democracy is a farce , freedom a mirage. the most basic freedom RIGHT TO INFORMATION & EXPRESSION , is not honoured by the government,as the information opens up the crimes of V.V.I.Ps & leads to their ill-gotten wealth. The public servants are least bothered about the lives of people or justice to them. these type of fat cats , parasites are a drain on the public exchequer . these people want ,wish me to see dead , wish to see HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH closed . so that, a voice against injustices is silenced forever , the crimes of V.V.I.Ps closed , buried forever. To my numerous appeals , HRW's appeals to you ,you have not yet clearly shows that you are least bothered about the lives of people or justice to them .it proves that you are hell bent to protect the criminals at any cost. you are just pressurising the police to enquire me ,to take my statement, to repeatedly call me to police station all with a view to silence me.all of you enjoy "legal immunity privileges" ,why don't you have given powers to the police / investigating officer to summon all of you for enquiry ?or else why don't all of you are not appearing before the police voluntarily for enquiry ?at the least why don't all of you are not sending your statement about the case to the police either through legal counsel or through post? you are aiding criminals ,by denying me job oppurtunities in R.B.I CURRENCY NOTE PRESS mysore , city civil court ,bangalore , distict court , mysore ,etc & by illegally closing my newspaper. there is a gross, total mismatch between your actions and your oath of office. this amounts to public cheating & moral turpitude on your part. are making contempt of the very august office you hold. are making contempt of the constitution of india. are making contempt of citizens of india. are sponsoring & aiding terorrism & organized crime. are violating the fundamental & human rights of the citizens of india and of neighbouring countries. are violating & making contempt of the U.N HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER to which india is a signatory. are obstructing me from performing my fundamental duties as a citizen of india. Both of you are hereby called upon to SHOW-CAUSE within 30 days , why you cann't be legally prosecuted for the above mentioned crimes . in future , with regard to this case if i am called to police station or court , etc, the loss of my wages & the related expenses must be borne by the government. Meanwhile , if anything untoward happens to me or to my dependents, both of you will be directly held responsible along with the perpatrators of crime and you are liable to pay rupees twenty lakhs as compensation to the survivors of my family.if none of my dependents survive,donate rupees twenty lakhs to the mother theresa's MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY TRUST,kolkata.india.


Dear Sir ,

INDIA: CPI-M cadres' blunt attack resumed against villagers in Nandigram with inaction and connivance of the West Bengal state government

I am writing to you to draw your immediate attention to the recent brutal attack and killings of villagers in Nandigram, East Midnapore district, West Bengal, India, by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists since 6 November 2007.

The incident occurred when CPI-M thugs launched an organized armed attack against BUPC activists and villagers from Tekhali Bridge, situated at the southern side of Nandigram Block No I & II, in order to gain control over the Nandigram area on November 6. It is reported that the CPI-M activists took over Simulkund, Satengabari, Janbari, Maheshpur Bazar villages in this block. It is reported that the CPI-M activists fired upon the villagers from automatic rifles, torched the houses of the BUPC supporters, ransacked and looted the houses. Local media reports that nearly 2,000 villagers are still away from their villages, after the three days of violence resulted in a fresh exodus. They took shelter in different camps nearby. Under the virulent attacks by the CPI-M thugs, it established its hold on the entire block of Nandigram Block II with its armed forces. According to the official government version, at least 3 persons were killed and 14 others were injured during the incident. The persons killed are Rabin Das, Tushar Sahoo and Nirapada Ghata. However, the death toll of the incident will increase as more dead bodies are being recovered.

I am also informed that on November 10, the CPI-M activists again allegedly fired on a peaceful procession of BUPC which officially resulted in the killing of 3 persons and injuring more than twenty. There are unconfirmed reports that about 50 persons were killed and their bodies were carried to unknown places to hide the actual number of death toll. Amongst the dead, a woman named Shyamali Manna died after being killed by CPI (M) thugs. One wounded victim Mr. Tapash Khatua was brought to the Kolkata hospital and is now being treated at SSKM hospital. The injured victims including Ashish Pandit, Goutam Pal, Yadav Maity, Akreja Bibi were admitted to Tamluk Hospital with gun shot wounds and are in critical condition. Mr. Sanat Pramanik was referred to Kolkata Hospital as his condition became serious.

I am also informed that there have been incidents of rape in the Nandigram area. Moni Shaw was reportedly admitted to Tamluk Mahakuma Hospital after being raped by the CPI-M thugs. Another woman named Anwara of Satengabari village was also reportedly raped.

I am particularly annoyed by the information that the attacks were continued with deliberate inaction by the police and the state government administration. Eyewitnesses claim that the police at the nearest outpost did not act to stop the violence and left the spot in a hurry.

In deliberate inaction and connivance with police and administration, the CPI-M cadres blocked all roads to Nandigram preventing anyone including fact-finding mission teams from the human rights groups and journalists from entering the area. For example, towards the journey to Nandigram, Ms. Medha Patekar, a reputed social activist, was stopped by the party cadres on November 7 and was manhandled by them. Although one police pilot car was present there at that time, the policemen did not intervene. Even the press were reportedly attacked by the party supporters in presence of the police. Under these circumstances, nobody knows what is actually taking place in the Nandigram area now. Currently, the affected villagers are suffering from a shortage of food and inadequate medical assistance. Many of the villagers are women, children and elderly persons.

I want to remind you that at least 14 villagers in Nandigram area were killed by police fire on 14 March 2007, when they were protesting for their right to land. It is unfortunate to see that other killingd occurred in the Nandigram area and people have to suffer continuous violence and threats. It should be also noted that although the state government recently announced compensation to those killed during the March incident, the victims have not yet received any effective judicial redress.

In light of above, I strongly demand that you take immediate action to ensure that:

1. The new unauthorized manmade blocks at entry points to Nandigram area should be immediately removed so that humanitarian assistance, fact-finding mission teams as well as journalists can access the area to find the truth and provide assistance to the affected villagers;

2. The CPI-M activists holding the Nandigram area should be immediately removed from the area and those responsible for the killings and attacks should be arrested and brought to justice as soon as possible;

3. An independent judicial inquiry should immediately be established to look into this incident. Also, the CBI from the central government should take charge of the investigation into this incident to ensure its accountability;

4. The government authorities should take immediate action to reveal the actual casualties during the incidents, the current condition of the villagers, and to collect evidence of the incident;

5. Urgent medical and other humanitarian aid should be provided to the affected villagers in need;

6. The National Human Rights Commission of India should also launch its own inquiry into this incident;

7. All the inquiry reports about the incident should be made in public as soon as they are finalized, and;

8. Strong disciplinary and legal action should be taken against the police officers of the outpost nearby the Nandigram as well as other responsible government officials for their complete negligence of their duty to stop the violence. I look for your urgent intervention into this matter.

Your’s sincerely,



Dear Sir ,

INDIA: Maltreatment of a couple by Border Security Forces (BSF), West Bengal

Name of victims: 1. Mrs. Maina Bibi, aged 32, wife of Mr. Chhakat Ali Biswas 2. Mr. Chhakat Ali Biswas, aged 36 years, son of Late Munaruddin Biswas Both are the resident of Dayarampur village, D. Parashpur post office, Jalangi police station, Murshidabad district, Pin - 742305, West Bengal, India Names of alleged perpetrators: 1. Mr. Ramesh Singh, Sub Inspector and two other personnel from Border Security Force of Out Post number 4 of Khyertala BSF Camp belonged to Battalion Number-90 of G-Company, Jalangi Police Station, Murshidabad, West Bengal 2. Mr. Subir Pal, Officer in Charge of the Jalangi Police Station Place of Incident: At the bank of Padma River in Dayarampur Village Date of Incident: At 8pm 21 September 2007

I am deeply concerned by the maltreatment and harassment of a couple by the Border Security Forces (BSF) in Murshidabad district on 21 September 2007.

According to the information I have received, when Mrs. Maina Bibi went to the bank of Padma River of Dayarampur village for the call of nature along with her husband Mr. Chhakat Ali Biswas at around 8pm on 21 September 2007, they were harassed and humiliated by two personnel of Border Security Forces (BSF). The BSF men flashed their torch light on Mrs. Maina Bibi for number of times. Despite Mr. Chahakat Ali Biswas's several requests, they did not stop doing so and further abused the couple in filthy languages. The couple protested the misbehavior of the two BSF personnel, while returning home.

I am informed that on the same night, Mr. Ramesh Singh, Sub Inspector from BSF, came to the residence of Mrs. Maina Bibi's residence along with one BSF constable. After enquiring about the incident, the said SI abused them in vulgar tone and slapped on his face several times, instead of taking disciplinary action against the two responsible BSF men. On September 28, the SI Ramesh Singh also reportedly refused to reveal the names of the two BSF personnel, when he was interviewed by activists from one local human rights organization.

Although, Mr. Chhakat Ali Biswas lodged General Diary vide GDE no. 1384 dated on 22 September 2007 at Jalangi police station, there has been no action taken by the police to investigate the incident.

The couple belongs to the marginalized Muslim community in India and, they have lost all their lands due to the erosion of Padma River. The family has lived in a makeshift hut at the embankment of the river since then.

This case illustrates how casually the BSF harass people without fearing any consequences of it. I am fully aware that The BSF has become notorious for grave human rights abuses such as extra-judicial killings and torture, corruption, cross-border smuggling in India. As a result, the villagers residing near border area are also exposed to daily casual harassment or maltreatment by the BSF personnel.

I am particularly keep receiving human rights abuses committed by the BSF in West Bengal from the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) based on Hong Kong. The most recent cases I am informed by the AHRC are the case of Mr. Santhosh Mondal who was mowed down and drowned by the BSF in Murshidabad district on 27 July 2007 as well as the killing of Basudeb Mondal and gunshot injury of 17-year-old boy Satyen Mondal by indiscriminate firing by BSF personnel in the same Murshidabad district on 26 June 2007.

Like in this case, the local police seldom take action to investigate these cases resulting in the BSF enjoying complete impunity. As a result, the victims do not dare to report cases as the local police are not initiating any action upon their complaints.

It should be noted that such impunity emphasizes that such practices have obstructed the development of justice mechanisms in the country which are continuously putting the citizens under great risk.

I therefore request you to ensure a proper investigation into this case and take necessary action against those responsible. I also request you to inquire the negligence of the duty committed by the Jalangi police in this case.

Lastly, I request the Government of India to take genuine action to stop continuous gross human rights abuses committed by the BSF. For this purpose, I urge the Government to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and effectively implement it into domestic level without any further delay.

Your’s sincerely,



Your Excellency,

I am writing to urge a significant increase in U.S. pressure on the Government of Pakistan to end martial law and to release those who have been detained or are under house arrest. This increased pressure should include a strong, unequivocal statement from President Bush explicitly condemning martial law and the subsequent arrests and a cutoff of all security assistance until these repressive steps are reversed.

Although President Musharraf has sought to justify the suspension of the constitution as a response to terrorism and extremism, martial law has from the start constituted an attack on the independence of the judiciary and on civil society. As you know, President Musarraf has purged the Supreme Court of independent-minded judges. The arrests have targeted moderate and democratic critics of his rule: human rights activists, lawyers, and members of opposition political parties. It is critical for the United States government to condemn these serious human rights violations, and for senior U.S. officials to express these concerns clearly and forcefully.

Senior U.S. officials, including President Bush, have criticized the emergency measures and called for a return to democracy. However, such statements were not linked to any explicit statement of consequences should the Musarraf government fail to reverse the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.

The human rights community is in full support of effective and appropriate multilateral counterterrorism measures. However, each tacit support for this imposition of martial law in Pakistan can be expected to set back efforts to address terrorism in that country and throughout the region. Violation of fundamental human rights standards and violent repression of non-violent critics of the government will only increase popular support for militant groups. The imposition of a state of emergency by the Musarraf government flies in the face of the Administration's policy of supporting freedom and democracy as an antidote to extremism.

I strongly urge you to send a clear, consistent and public message to the Government of Pakistan. I also urge you to call for the immediate release of those detained or held under house arrest, a rescinding of the emergency orders and any restrictions on press freedom, a full restoration of the constitution, and the reinstatement of all judges who have been removed from their positions. Without such measures, free and fair elections will not be possible.

I urge you specifically to call on the Pakistani authorities to immediately release the leading jurists and advocates now under house arrest or in detention, including members of the Supreme Court and its bar association, U.N. Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, and officials of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Until these steps are taken and the rule of law is restored, all security assistance to the Government of Pakistan, including military assistance, should be suspended to put added pression on the Government of Pakistan to meet its international human rights obligations.

As the situation continues to deteriorate in Pakistan, I urge you to publicly call on General Pervez Musharraf to end the emergency, to immediately reinstate the constitution and rule of law, and to release and reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the other justices in the Supreme Court. This measure is critical to ensuring the independence of Pakistan’s judiciary and maintaining stability and basic human rights in the country.

Although General Musharraf has sought to justify the suspension of the constitution as a response to terrorism and extremism, martial law , from the start, has constituted an attack on the

independence of the judiciary and on civil society. As you know, President Musharraf has purged the Supreme Court of independent-minded judges. The arrests have targeted moderate and democratic critics of his rule: human rights activists, lawyers, and members of opposition political parties. It is critical for the United States government to condemn these serious human rights violations, and for senior U.S. officials to express these concerns clearly and forcefully. Without a lifting of the emergency and a return to the rule of law it is not possible for the country to proceed to free and fair elections which General Musharraf has indicated he will hold in early January.

The human rights community is in full support of effective and appropriate multilateral counterterrorism measures. However, even tacit support for this imposition of martial law and the sacking and imprisoning of justices in Pakistan can be expected to set back efforts to address terrorism in that country and throughout the region. The imposition of a state of emergency by the Musharraf government flies in the face of the Administration's policy of supporting freedom and democracy as an antidote to extremism.

For these reasons, I urge you to publicly call on General Musharraf to release and reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the other justices in the Supreme Court. It is our duty to advocate the independence of the judiciary and the basic human rights of the Pakistani people- and do everything we can to bring stability back to the country.

Thank you for your attention on this matter.

Your’s sincerely,



The survey found that counterfeit drugs at the retail level are available to the same extent throughout the country

Bhuma Shrivastava

New Delhi: Amid mounting questions about lax regulations involving fake drugs produced in India, a national survey commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that some 3% of drugs in the market are counterfeit or spurious, well below the 10% average for such fake medicines in most developing countries.

The survey, conducted by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), comes at a time when the government has promised to introduce a Bill in the current session of Parliament that will call for stringent punishment for those engaged in the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs.

The WHO-backed survey precedes a mammoth exercise being planned by India’s drug regulator to also map the extent of this problem in the country.

The survey picked up 10,000 samples of 56 top selling drugs, as ranked by market researcher ORG IMS. Of the 3% of the sample that was counterfeit—defined as those violating patent and copyright rules by, for instance, mimicking packaging and brand names—the study estimates that just one-10th are likely to be substandard in terms of their ingredients.

The survey also found uniformity in the prevalence of counterfeit drugs at the retail level, though many within the country believe Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, New Delhi and Haryana to be the centres for manufacture and distribution of counterfeit and spurious drugs.

Drug controller general of India (DCGI) M. Venkateswarlu, who has studied the survey report, said it supports the view of the ministry of health and family welfare. “Even if we assume all the 3% they are suspecting to be counterfeit are proved so, it is still far less than the figures doing the rounds right now,” he said.

The estimates have varied widely from a low of 0.5% to a high 30% of the drugs sold in the country. According to WHO, although precise and detailed data on counterfeit medicines is difficult to obtain, estimates of counterfeit prevalence range from around 1% of sales in developed countries to more than 10% in the developing world.

Some in the drug industry questioned the study. “The findings seem inaccurate,” said a senior executive of a Mumbai drug firm who didn’t want to be named because he hadn’t personally reviewed the study. Still, “a sample size of 10,000 is too small for a country like India and checking only at the retail level (is) too restrictive”, he said.

Meanwhile, FIP’s vice-president in India, Prafull D. Sheth, declined to share the report or provide any details. But an industry insider familiar with the survey said some 400 retail chemists were part of the exercise, with clinical research company Apothecaries Ltd based in New Delhi, examining the samples in its laboratories.

This study, however, does not cover drug batches being exported from India or being Europe and disbursed through public or private hospitals. Countries in Africa have complained that spurious drugs manufactured in India have found their way into their home markets.

DCGI, meanwhile, is awaiting the final nod from the government to undertake a countrywide survey that could investigate up to 100,000 samples focused on a lot fewer brands than the FIP study’s 56.

In a recent interview with Mint, Venkateswarlu said the department is speaking to statistical organizations such as the Indian Statistical Institute to aid in this exercise. “It has to be a time bound, high-speed process. It’ll not just give a reliable estimate of the extent of the counterfeit drugs, but also help (us) in undertaking consequential action,” he said.

FIP is a body that represents national pharmaceutical (professional and scientific)associations, founded in The Hague in 1912.

Mercenaries of death - The cancer of fake drugs that rules the markets is disturbing - N. J. Singh

Thanks to Bhuma Srivastava for her hard work and soul-stirring article, ‘Fake drugs industry operates openly, Mint, 30 April, on how the mercenaries of death operate in connivance with unscrupulous elements.The cancer of fake drugs that rules the markets is disturbing. More so, since people pay their hard-earned money only to buy death and there is endless suffering for the family left behind by the deceased. Congratulations to Harinder Sikka for filing a PIL against this. People with a conscience must raise their voices in unison to support him in his push for the concerned amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

—N. J.Singh

The problem of fake drugs has plagued our community for many years. Few crimes can be more horrendous than this one. Indirectly, this is murder in cold blood. The agony of suffering from the administration of fake drugs can only be understood by those who have been affected. Fake drugs not only take away precious lives, but also lead to the emergence of drug resistance. Unfortunately, our legal system is painfully tardy. As in other spheres, our socio-political environment has allowed the culprits to carry on with their nefarious activities with utter disregard for the law of the land. Hang a few and this menace will come to an end.

Hence, through your columns, I appeal that the law should be strengthened with more stringent and exemplary punishments, including capital punishment. I read of a PIL filed in the high court. I urge the court and Parliament to take a speedy decision on this crucial issue. Your efforts through the media must help this cause. We had a mega conference on luxury. Let us have a mega conference on fake drugs, an industry possibly larger than the luxury one. I wish you success.

—Deepak Lahoti

Your story does a commendable job in highlighting the menace posed by counterfeit drugs to humanity.

Despite being a serious health hazard, there has never been any concerted effort from all the stakeholders involved to counter this hazard. And that has continuously encouraged the culprits to profit from it.

Lack of infrastructure and manpower for the regulator, coupled with major inadequacies in the existing laws, make the problem a very complex one. There is still no clarity on the draft law pending in Parliament to expedite the legal procedure and increase punitive measures.

In the meantime, it is the general public that is suffering. Do we not have the right to quality medicines?

Who will answer this question—the the government or the pharmaceutical industry? And who will take the lead and help implement a practical solution?

With the secondary wholesaler distribution market being the weakest link in the supply chain, the industry and industry associations have to play a proactive role in containing the menace of fake drugs.

Mint, by bringing to the forefront an issue of public health, has put in a great effort.

However, it should not end here; rather, further follow-ups need be done so that the concerned take appropriate action to meet the menace.

—Jayashree Menon

This refers to the interview with Harinder S. Sikka, ‘Govt must take the blame if fake drugs are having a field day’, Mint, 3 May. I feel three steps are required to do away with the menace of spurious and inferior quality drugs. We need to do a detailed analysis of the essential drugs. Those drugs that are required for treatment of common ailments should be sold only in generic form, though brands may be allowed here.

Vitamin formulations with odd combinations need to be banned straight away. We need to strengthen those drug manufacturers who are ready to adhere to a very high degree of quality, but cannot reach the masses.

Spurious drug manufacturers will have to be punished and punished very fast; if needed, we should set up special courts for the purpose.

—Narendra M. Apte

Govt must take blame if fake drug lords are having a field day – ENSURE QUALITY CHECKING OF MEDICINES PROCURED FOR GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS

On 30 April, Mint wrote a page one story about the proliferation of fake drugs in the heart of the nation’s capital. Meanwhile, legislation, in the form of an amendment to the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, proposed back in 2005, is gathering dust in Parliament even after some of the original proposals—such as death penalty for counterfeited drugs—has been watered down. Some of the recommendations stemmed from an even earlier report from a committee headed by R.A. Mashelkar, the former director general of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

While Union health minister A. Ramadoss as well as other ministry officials declined to talk about the delayed legislation, the department of chemicals and petrochemicals said the amendment may be taken up by Parliament in “the coming sessions.”

But enough is enough, some are saying.Harinder S. Sikka, a director at drug maker Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi high court, asking the government to explain what has been happening with the Mashelkar report. Sikka, who has filed the litigation in his individual capacity, says that dealing in spurious drugs violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right to life.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Mint’s reporter, Sikka explains his motives in trying to force the issue and also offers some solutions. Edited excerpts:

What made you file a PIL on the issue of counterfeit and spurious drugs?

I have been concerned about the menace of counterfeit and spurious drugs for long. Many years ago, while writing for a newspaper (the Pioneer), I went to cover the Kargil war. It was then that I ran into the stark reality of spurious drugs. The seriously injured jawans were being administered drugs that no one had heard of. Most of the drugs being supplied there were substandard or spurious.

I have spent 13 years in the drugs industry and I have sufficient knowledge about spurious and substandard drugs. While I was in the Navy, I had the privilege of availing a Local Purchase Order (where senior officers can procure drugs from the marketplace). Why was this LPO freely given to senior officers? It was only because the government doesn’t think too highly of their own procurement system.

What is amiss in the current regulatory environment and government set-up?

It is widely known that the drugs supplied through the government tender system, focuses on L1, or the lowest-priced drugs. The focus here is not on the quality or the reputation of the company. Neither is much attention paid to the question whether the firm has the infrastructure, or is following Schedule M (good quality manufacturing norms).

On paper, some of these quality checks are done but, I can assure you, some of these drug companies are operating out of their garages. But, they have the wherewithal and the paperwork in place to procure these government contracts.

Indians found guilty in UK’s biggest fake drug rackets

London: Four people, including two of Indian origin, have been found guilty of masterminding a multi-million pound global racket of selling counterfeit Viagra and other drugs over the Internet after procuring them from India, Pakistan and China.

The convictions, delivered in the Kingston Crown Court Monday evening, came after what is called the biggest counterfeit drugs bust in British history. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) led the investigations.

The men were charged with masterminding the industrial-scale supply of counterfeit medicine between 2002 and 2005, involving millions of pounds worth of counterfeit Viagra, Cialis and Propecia.The medicines contained around 90 per cent of the normal active ingredient found in the authentic tablets - but regulators said customers were put in danger because of other possible ingredients.

These seizures resulted in the MHRA unravelling the biggest conspiracy of the supply of counterfeit medicines thus far in Britain. Over 1,500,000 pounds of counterfeit medicines seized were intended to be supplied to customers through this conspiracy.

MHRA sources said that in the autumn of 2002, revenue and customs officials seized counterfeit Viagra at Stansted airport. This was followed by a number of other seizures at Stansted and Heathrow airports where false descriptions like "Vitamins C and E", "Calcium for Kids" and "Samples of Mineral Supplements for Dogs" were used for a variety of products.

The counterfeit medicines were filtered for sale through licensed wholesalers to pharmacies in Britain and through Internet sites operating both in Britain and overseas. In 2004, counterfeit Cialis made its way into the regulated supply chain reaching patient level. This led to a recall of that product from the British market.

The chance interception of a packet containing 12,000 fake Viagra tablets led to the arrests. The packet was addressed to Leicester-based Gary Haywood, 58, who claimed to be working for drugs firm Pfizer. He told undercover investigators on camera that "within 6-8 weeks I will be able to supply up to a million tablets".

Haywood, along with Ashwin Patel, 24, of north London, and Zahid Mirza, 45, of Ilford, Essex, were found guilty last month of a number of counts of conspiring to sell fake medicines.

Ashish Halai, 31, of Borehamwood, Essex, described as the British "lynchpin" of the operation, had already pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiring to sell the fake drugs before the trial started almost nine months ago. He was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

The jury failed to reach verdicts on four other defendants. George Patino, a doctor from Mexico, Alpesh Patel, a pharmaceutical sales representative from Kingsbury, London, pharmacist Rajendra Shah of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, and businessman Ketan Mehta of Grove Park, London, will face a retrial next year.

The investigation traced a complex network of individuals, companies and bank accounts facilitating the movement of these medicines. Over a period of time, the men conspired together with the common purpose to profit from these counterfeits.

Mick Deats, Head of Enforcement at the MHRA said: "The MHRA treats every report of a counterfeit medicine as a serious incident. We will continue to use every power at our disposal to prosecute those engaged in this illicit activity and confiscate the proceeds of their crimes.

"This successful prosecution should serve as a clear signal to those contemplating the supply of counterfeit medicines. The public are strongly advised to avoid buying medicines online, where the risk of being provided with counterfeit medicines is greatly increased," he added.

The verdicts could only be reported on Monday after the court lifted restrictions. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work.

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