THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials in Mumbai have developed own law STOP SALE ACTIVITY of Drugs and Cosmetic act. Misusing this act they are allegedly extorting money from medical stores, wholesalers and retailers even for minor mistakes or negligible violations.
According to sources, the FDA officials normally visit medical stores. If they do not find pharmacist present at the store or any other minor mistake they immediately issue STOP SALE ACTIVITY letter to him. Although the rule says that this should be first noted down in diary, and then secondly a show cause notice needs to be issued and third after discussion (hearing) if he is found guilty, only then issue suspension or cancellation order. But officials apparently do not care about any such rules and in quest to blackmail the medical store owners and extort money from them, openly flout the prescribed rules and directly issue STOP SALE ACTIVITY notice.
Sources state that the officials allegedly extort 25000 – 30000 Rs per case after issuing stop sale activity notice, for not taking further action. Sources have also said that till date they have issued more than 9,000 notices since 2012. After getting money these officers removes the stop sale activity order.
As per procedure, Food and Drugs Minister can give clean chit into such cases. FDA sources revealed that the minister Girish Bapat has ‘appointed’ a FDA official to ‘look into’ the matter. The concerned official charges Rs 50,000 per case and gives clean chit to the victims.
This modus operandi has been adopted by FDA Officials on Wholesalers and Retailers as well. This happens more in Mumbai and Thane than in other parts of Maharashtra. Mira Bhayander zone’s Assistant Commissioner Vijay Kose and Joint commissioner, Thane, V. T. Painikar are facing many allegations of this type.
If someone asks why officials are doing so they reply to protect the public from unsafe drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and other potential hazards.
This is a routine practice of FDA officers. In Mumbai also it is found that if any medical store owner / food stall owner gives money to concerned FDA officer, then they are least bothered about the norms, terms and conditions that are required to be fulfilled to issue the license. And if a medical store / food stall owner doesn’t show any interest in paying money to the FDA officer, he is made to run from pillar to post and is made to submit documents and papers that are not even required like property tax receipt, Municipal NOC and others.
A company owner has written complaint letter (copy with ABI) to the top officials demanding action into the matter. The company is facing STOP SALE ACIVITY since two years.