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Counterfeit Tocilizumab racket: 5 accused named, 2 detained in Ahmedabad

The spurious drugs came to FDCA’s notice after a private practitioner, who had prescribed Tocilizumab for one of his patients, came back with the drug with suspicious packaging, following which he raised an alarm.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: July 22, 2020 3:05:45 pm
Counterfeit Tocilizumab racket, ahmedabad news, ahmedabad covid-19 testing, ahmedabad covid cases, gujarat police, ahmedabad city news Vastrapur police station inspector YB Jadeja said, “Two of the accused – Laliwala and Thakor – have been detained and sent to the hospital for Covid-19 testing. (Representational)

Days after the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) cracked down on a racket of counterfeit drugs being sold as Tocilizumab, an FIR was registered on Monday night by a departmental drug inspector, naming five as accused for serious offences including attempted culpable homicide.

Registered with Vastrapur police station in Ahmedabad against five involved in the racket, by FDCA Ahmedabad Zone-2 Drug inspector Tapan Chudasma, the FIR charged the accused with IPC provisions pertaining to attempt to culpable homicide (308), criminal breach of trust (406), sale of drug as different drug (276) and criminal conspiracy (120) (b). The five have also been booked under provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

The FIR summarises that the five accused – Ashish Shah, Akshay Shah, Harsh Thakor, Nilesh Laliwala and Sohel Tai – hatched a conspiracy and decided to profiteer amid the Covid-19 pandemic wherein they sold a generic drug steroid, Nandrolone Decanoate manufactured by one Genic Pharma, as Tocilizumab by mislabelling it. The duration of the occurrence of offence has been detailed as between January 1 and July 14.

Vastrapur police station inspector YB Jadeja said, “Two of the accused – Laliwala and Thakor – have been detained and sent to the hospital for Covid-19 testing. For the other three, we are tracking their whereabouts. A team from here has also left for Surat and we are coordinating with Surat Police.”

The spurious drugs came to FDCA’s notice after a private practitioner, who had prescribed Tocilizumab for one of his patients, came back with the drug with suspicious packaging, following which he raised an alarm. The trail was backtraced where the pharmacy from where the drug was bought – Maa pharmacy, run by the Shah brothers – confessed to have procured the counterfeit drug from one Harsh Thakor, who delivered Shah the drug at the SVP Hospital compound. Thakor had then informed that he had procured the drugs from the owner of one Happy Chemist – The Protein House, Nilesh Laliwala. Laliwala has been allegedly procuring steroid injections from Surat-based Tai since a year or so minus any license, states the FIR. Laliwala had also allegedly informed that Thakor, purportedly an athlete, had sought the drugs citing for personal use.

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