The Crime Investigation Department (CID) Telangana has registered a case against Abbott Health Care Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of drug maker Abbott India, and their associates in an alleged case of smuggling cough syrup ‘Phensedyl’ to Bangladesh.
The investigation was prompted when cough syrup (containing narcotic substance) worth Rs 57.6 crore on its way to Bangladesh was intercepted in Shillong six months ago, according to a statement issued by state Drug Control Administration (DCA).
“The company, M/s Abott Health Care Pvt Ltd, supplied the stocks of Phensedyl from Baddi plant to its C&F Depot at Uppal. The depot invoiced the stocks to specific distributors recruited by the state marketing managers and their subordinates. These ‘retailers’ were billed large quantities of the stock. Investigation reveals that most of these ‘retailers’ don’t exist, the statement said.
The manufacturer, in collusion with their C&F agent and certain Pharmaceutical dealer agencies/individuals have diverted this drug from the TS/AP market to Kolkata and then further. This has been done by falsification of records and raising of paperwork in the name of non-existent firms or dealers who have nothing to do with it,” the DCA statement said.
When contacted the company, a spokesperson denied the drug maker’s involvement in the alleged diversion.
“As a global health-care company (Abbott) is committed to maintaining highly reputable professional ethics and standards worldwide. Our policies and procedures require strict compliance with all local laws and regulations.
“Abbott has cooperated with information requests from local authorities and over the past years, and has put in place a number of measures designed to prevent illegal diversion of Phensedyl,” the spokesperson said, adding it did not see any specific allegation against the company.
Director DCA Akun Sabarwal told PTI that they have sent a questionnaire to the company seeking details and the answers were found to be “inconsistent” with the agency’s investigation.
The CID registered a case under sections 8, 21, 22 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Act and sections 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of IPC.
Based on an alert by customs officials in Shillong six months ago, the DCA launched a probe after 5,100 bottles of Phensedyl cough syrup were seized by the sleuths while being allegedly smuggled into Bangladesh.