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Spurious, expired and stolen medicines seized during raids

February 05, 2023

Spurious and expired cancer medicines as well as essential drugs stolen from public hospitals have been seized during raids at two places in Karachi where they had been kept to be supplied to medical stores and pharmacies all over the city and other parts of the country, officials of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) said on Saturday.

During raids of Drap along with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Crime Circle and provincial drug inspectors from the Sindh health department, huge quantity of spurious, smuggled and illegal drugs were seized from a warehouse located on MA Jinnah Road and an apartment in the Garden area of the city this week.

DRAP officials said they had sent the seized drugs for testing to the Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) as well as a provincial drug testing lab.

One of the members of the raiding team, Shoaib Mughal, told The News that on a tip-off provided by people arrested by law enforcement agencies, a joint team was constituted that raided the warehouse near Lighthouse on MA Jinnah Road and found drugs stolen from public hospitals as well as some security agencies’ health facilities kept there.

“Actually, we learnt that some people are selling costly life-saving medicines at throwaway prices. These medicines include cancer medicines whose cost is around Rs100,000 but these people were selling them at Rs50,000 to Rs60,000. This led to raids on medical stores in front of the National Institute of Child Health (NICH), where these cancer medicines were being sold. On investigation, it was revealed that these were stolen medicines from the public health facilities,” the official claimed.

He said that on the information from people arrested from the medical stores, a joint team of DRAP, FIA and provincial drug inspectors raided the warehouse in the Lighthouse area and found illegal, smuggled, unregistered, expired and stolen medicines.

“What we have found is a huge cache of illegal medicines, expensive life-saving medicines, including anticancer therapies, and antibiotics. The warehouse is reportedly owned by one Ghaffar, who is a member of the drug sellers association,” the official said, adding that they had sent samples of all the recovered medicines to the DTL for testing while the FIA was investigating the case.

Similarly, an apartment was raided in the Garden area of the city where smuggled but expired anti-cancer medicines, stolen medicines and other spurious drugs were found in filthy conditions, he said, adding that such medicines were being supplied to small medical stores in the city and other towns of the country.

“These criminals were providing spurious, expired medicines to the poor people who were buying them in the hope that their loved ones would be cured but actually, they were being supplied ineffective drugs, which are of no use”, the official claimed.

Drap officials in Islamabad said their teams were working with law enforcement agencies and provincial authorities to eliminate mafias behind sale of spurious and fake drugs, saying that several factories had recently been busted by them throughout the country where counterfeit medicines were being prepared and supplied to the medicines markets in the country.

“We advise people to buy medicines from authentic pharmacies in the country while we are also working with the provincial governments and law enforcement agencies to track people behind spreading spurious, counterfeit and unwarranted medicines in the country,” Drap official said.