A counterfeit pharmaceutical company was sealed by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and Defence police on Monday night.
Drugs worths Rs20 million have been confiscated. According to Defence SHO Raja Mushtaq twelve people were arrested but ten of them were subsequently released. Only the owners of the company, Aftab Jafri and Yahya Jafri, are still in custody.
Century Pharmaceuticals Private Limited was allegedly producing the counterfeit drug Cycloserine which was sold under the brand name of ‘Closerin’. The drug was said to be an antibiotic for the treatment of tuberculosis.
“We received information through a source that this drug is completely bogus,” explained Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, who is the director of the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases (OICD), which comes under the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS). According to Dr Ahmed, the case was forwarded to DUHS Vice Chancellor Dr Masood Hameed. He ordered testing for the samples received directly by the OICD and the samples picked up through other medical stores. Dr Hameed brought up the issue with the home minister as well, who instructed the law enforcement agencies to seal the facility.
“We can’t take any risks when it comes to medicines. Someone has to take a stand and we are thankful that the vice chancellor took the necessary steps,” said Dr Ahmed.
According to a source, the OICD had granted the tender for Cycloserine to Century Pharma three years ago, and recently the institute had stocked up the drug for three months after paying Century Pharma Rs3.2 million.
According to a CPLC official, Raza Ali, the company has been supplying the fake drug not only to the OICD but also to other hospitals in Karachi, including Civil hospital. The manufacturing company’s FDA licence to produce this drug expired in January 2011. The pharmaceutical company was located in DHA’s Phase I.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2011.