The indiscriminate use of ‘Tocilizumab’ injection for the treatment of Covid-19 in Gujarat has increased its demand, which is being exploited by counterfeiters. A senior official of the state Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) gave this information on Sunday. He said that the right to manufacture this patented drug is only with the Roche Pharma company of Switzerland and it is marketed in India by Cipla.
The official said that from May till now, around 6,400 ‘Tocilizumab’ injections have been imported into Gujarat. A gang selling fake ‘Tocilizumab’ injections was busted in raids in Surat and Ahmedabad recently. FDCA Commissioner Hemant Koshia said that the gang’s mastermind Sohail Ismail Tai used to run a fake company called Genic Pharma in Surat and make fake injections at his residence.
He said that the FDCA raids recovered drug making equipment and active pharmaceutical ingredients worth Rs eight lakh from his residence from which the drug is produced. The official said Tai used to supply the medicine to agents who distributed it to various shopkeepers. He said the FDCA registered a case against five people for making and selling counterfeit Tocilizumab drugs.
The officer said that the process of making a complaint to the police against the accused is on. Koshia said that in the first week of May, the Gujarat government had decided to purchase Tocilizumab injections and provide them to government hospitals so that they could be used in the treatment of some patients of Covid-19. He said that the decision was taken after two patients recovered from Tocilizumab in Gandhinagar Government Hospital.
Koshia said, till that time, only 20 injections purchased by the state government were available in Gujarat. The company then imported more injections. He said, ‘This drug is used in some special cases of Kovid-19. However, its demand has increased after the ICMR incorporated it into treatment regimens on 13 May. Due to which there is imbalance in demand and supply and problems in public.
The official said that taking advantage of the increased demand and supply gap, some people are trying to make fake Tosilizumab injections in the name of a fake company like Genic Pharma. He said that a doctor sent us a picture of fake Tocilizumab injection on WhatsApp after which we started the investigation.