How doctors, shady firms joined hands to make fake cancer drugs, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Deadly cocktail: How doctors, shady firms joined hands to make fake cancer drugs

NEW DELHI: After completing his MBBS from China’s Hubei University and clearing his foreign medical graduate examination (FMGE), the screening test of the Medical Council of India, Dr Pabitra Narayan Pradhan’s career took the usual path.

From Delhi’s GTB Hospital, he moved to Super Speciality Cancer Institute and later to Deepchand Bandhu Hospital as a junior resident. Cops said a ‘business proposition’ by a fellow medicine student from Bangladesh to manufacture medicines by procuring active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) was too tempting for him to pass up on, prompting his journey into a life of crime.

To make big money, Pradhan got his cousin Shubham Manna and Ram Kumar involved in his plan and started making spurious cancer drugs. “He had been providing spurious medicines at a discounted 50% of market prices. He was manufacturing and supplying more than 21 spurious cancer medicines of various companies of different countries,” special commissioner (crime) Ravindra Yadav said.

The syndicate comprised highly-qualified and well-earning individuals. Manna had completed his BTech and served in MNCs before joining hands with Pradhan. Police said his job was to generate barcodes, emboss batch numbers and expiry dates on medicines. He also looked after overall packaging of the spurious medicines.
Deadly cocktail: How doctors, shady firms joined hands to make fake cancer drugsAnother accused, Ram Kumar, ran a factory named RDM Biotech in Haryana’s Gannaur, where the fake medicines were prepared using starch and API. During interrogation, he told cops he met Pradhan in Bawana in 2018 during a business deal. At the time, Pradhan posed as a doctor at AIIMS.

Another suspect, Aekansh Verma, ran a pharma company named Medyork in Chandigarh, police said. “He supplied one lakh capsules to the gang. The capsules had ‘Incepta’, a Bangladeshi brand, engraved on them. He took fake Tegrisso and other spurious cancer cure tablets from Pradhan and supplied them to users,” special CP Yadav added.

Verma used the facility of Indiamart to get mobile numbers of customers who were searching for cancer medicines online. “He used to contact them and provide spurious medicine at a cheaper rate. He was taking 50% margins on sale price,” Yadav said.

Another suspect, Parbhat Kumar, is the owner of Aditya Pharma, which has an office in Bhagirath Place.

“He is an MBA graduate and had worked in an MNC . Later, he got into wholesale business of medicines related to oncology and nephrology. Pradhan used to come to his shop for cancer drugs. After some time, he offered him spurious drugs at lower prices,” DCP (crime) Amit Goel said.

The other arrested accused, Pankaj Bohra and Ankit Sharma, are ITI diploma holders who handled the supply chain through couriers. Cops are now looking for other members of the syndicate and raids are on in three states to nab them, sources said.

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