UNION Minister for Industry U Khin Maung Cho vowed to eradicate the circulation and manufacturing of fake and expired medicines in the country during a press conference on the confiscation of K2.8 billion worth of counterfeit drugs and materials used in the production of fake drugs yesterday.
The new government will not tolerate the fake drug business. It has harmful effects on society, said the Union minister, adding that punitive action will be taken against those involved in the business.
According to the press conference, 14 people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the creation and distribution of imitation drugs following police raids at 11 chemists and 22 warehouses during the period from 31 August to 12 September based on information delivered from the Ministry of Industry to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In his clarification, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Soe said that measures are being taken to uncover a network of counterfeit medication sales and distribution chains.
U Ko Ko Lwin, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, said that the ministry spotted fake drugs in the market while conducting market research on pharmaceutical product development.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that medicines were sold under the name of BPI with fake packing and labeling in the market. In response, the Food and Drugs Administration under the Ministry of Health seized counterfeit medicines at Bogyoke Market and Shwe Pyae Sone Market in Yangon Region in cooperation with the Home Affairs Ministry as of 31 August, added the Permanent Secretary.
U Ko Ko Aung, general manager of the Myanmar Pharmaceutical Factory which was formerly known as Burma Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI), said that anti-counterfeit packaging measures are being taken in the production of medicines by the factory. A market surveillance team will be formed to undertake inspections of drugs on the market, he added.
According to officials who answered media questions, 44 types of fake drugs and 18 types of drugs with fake labelling and 98 types of expired drugs were confiscated during raids at the two markets and 21 types of suspicious medicines which were stored and materials used for faking drugs were seized.
The seizure of the fake drugs and materials amounted to K2.807 billion and 14 suspects that include seven possible sellers and distributors, four manufacturers, two fake label makers and one person who stored expired medicines were arrested, said officials. The seized fake and expired drugs will be destroyed in the presence of the media, added the officials.—Myanmar News Agency