As many as 153 drugs were found sub-standard between January and July and in most cases manufacturers were unregistered companies, the Directorate General of Drug Administration yesterday said.
Of the sub-standard drugs, 43 had already been marketed and the rest were awaiting registration, said Ruhul Amin, director of the drug regulatory authority, at a press conference at its auditorium in the capital.
Drug Testing Laboratory tested 4,846 samples of medicines during the period, and based on the results the authority sealed 10 companies.
Besides, it has filed cases against 499 drug manufacturers and marketeers and realised Tk 54.71 lakh as fines. Twenty people were sent to jail for involvement in manufacturing and marketing sub-standard, counterfeit, unregistered, misbranded, spurious and date-expired drugs across the country, Ruhul said.
Maj Gen Md Mostafizur Rahman, director general of the drug administration, refused to name the companies responsible for producing sub-standard drugs but said action had been taken against them.
“We want to ensure that each drug produced and marketed in the country conforms to the standards and so are conducting countrywide drives.”
The authorities have also decided to set up offices at the sea, air and land ports to prevent entry of counterfeit drugs from outside.
The government will seal drug stores and companies if they continue to produce and market the recently banned drugs, Mostafizur said.
The banned drugs are Paracetamol 500mg+DL Methionine 100mg meant for common fever and pain and anti-diabetic drugs Pioglitazone 30mg, Pioglitazone 45mg, Rosiglitazone 2mg and Rosiglitazone 4mg.
Besides, the production and marketing of eight other anti-diabetic drugs have been suspended. These are Glimepiride 2 mg + Rosiglitazone 4 mg, Glimepiride 1 mg + Rosiglitazone 4 mg, Metformin Hydrochloride 500 mg + Rosiglitazone 2 mg, Metformin Hydrochloride 500 mg + Rosiglitazone 1 mg, Metformin Hydrochloride 1 mg + Rosiglitazone 2 mg, Metformin Hydrochloride 1 mg + Rosiglitazone 4 mg, Glimepiride 4 mg+ Pioglitazone 30 mg and Glimepiride 2 mg+ Pioglitazone 30mg.
Consumption of these drugs poses risk of heart diseases, cancer, brain damage and kidney and liver damages, the drug administration said.
It published notices on the newspapers on August 14, 15, 20 and 22 warning people against production, sale, distribution, preservation and exhibition of the banned and suspended drugs.
The drug regulatory authority also communicated the matter to the drug companies concerned and Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Association. It ran a campaign against the banned and suspended medicines in hospitals and drug stores by distributing posters.
“We are monitoring through our field-level officers if the banned and suspended drugs are still in the stores.”
The drug stores were given time until Tuesday to take those drugs off their shelves, DG Mostafizur said, adding the regulatory authority yesterday ordered legal action to be taken if needed.
He, however, said consumers should not worry since alternatives to these drugs were available.