Babu Bhai, an employee with a pharmacy, gathers generic drugs for a customer from a store room in New Delhi. (Photo: AFP)
Police in East China have found that some "India-produced" anti-cancer drugs that Chinese purchasing agents bought from India were actually fake ones made in China.
China Central Television (CCTV) show Legal Report on Sunday posted a video via its Weibo account showing that police had found a suspect named Yang Dong (pseudonym) who produced counterfeit anti-cancer medicines with his accomplice in a house in Suqian, Jiangsu Province.
According to the video, Yang's "workshop" has a tablet press, a pill coating machine, a packaging machine, package cases and medicine instructions, but Yang could not read the instructions as he only has an elementary school education level.
"China does not allow private workshops to produce medicines," said one of the policemen in the video, noting that Yang made his drugs in a bathroom at the house.
Yang forged the information indicating that the lung cancer medicine was produced in Bangladesh. A small package of the real anti-cancer drugs costs as much as 2,000 yuan ($284 dollars), the video said.
Because of Yang, the police discovered a larger counterfeit drug workshop that manufactured and sold fake anti-cancer drugs.
Its owner Lao Lin (pseudonym) established a domestic sales network and sold his products in China and India.
Some of the fake medicines were taken to India and sold at local pharmacies. The purchasing agents thought the counterfeit anti-cancer drugs were made by Indian pharmaceutical factories, and they bought and sold them to domestic cancer patients.
"We found that most of the fake drugs flowed back from India to China," said the police.
An expert from the first people's hospital of Suqian told Legal Report that counterfeit drugs may have uncontrolled side effects, and that they could even cause considerable harm to patients.
By 2018, China had included more than 30 kinds of anti-cancer drugs in medical insurance, which reduced the huge burden of medicine expenses for patients. However, many of the newest foreign anti-cancer drugs have not yet entered China, which has led to many cases of counterfeit medicines being manufactured in the country.