D&FCO to re-verify drug licenses in Kashmir amid allegations of misuse

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Following a recent case of alleged misuse of drug license, Drug and Food Control Organisation (D&FCO) has launched a drive to re-verify the use of the licenses, an official said on Saturday.

As per the official data, there are 4,000 wholesale drug licensees and 7628 retail drug licensees in Kashmir. Last month, police at Parimpora seized a consignment, containing nearly 5,000 bottles each of 100 ml of codeine phosphate.

Deputy Drugs and Food Controller Kashmir, Irfana Ahmed said after this case of alleged misuse of drug license, the department has started investigation.

“Such a case has come to our notice for the first time. Earlier there were cases involving peddlers. But the Parimpora case where police seized codeine consignment meant for drug abuse is the first of its kind,” said Ahmed.

She said they have written to police seeking more details about the case. “They have not replied yet,” she said. She said the department has launched a drive under which they will investigate how many drug licenses were “operational” and how many of them were “not operational” or “non-existing”.

“We are ascertaining whether the people who have been issued licenses are actively involved in the trade. In case of licenses which are non operational we will be issuing notices or cancelling them,” said Ahmed. She said recently they have cancelled two drug licenses after it came to the fore that the license holders were “involved in substance abuse trade.”

Another official of the department said cough syrups containing codeine phosphate meant for patients with respiratory ailments were being smuggled into Kashmir from neighbouring northern-belt including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

“Codeine phosphate is necessary to stop coughing in lung cancer patients. However, it is misused by elements who find it cheap and sell to young drug abusers,” said the official.

Besides, the official said, they have also found cases where people have fabricated license numbers. As per norms, drug dealers have to keep records of drugs containing codeine phosphate and sell to patients only on prescriptions.