Pharmacist arrested for storing bottles of banned cough syrup
New Delhi: A former pharmacist was arrested for allegedly storing more than 36,000 bottles of banned codeine-based cough syrup in a warehouse at Azadpur here, police said on Thursday.
Cough syrups with an ingredient of codeine phosphate have an intoxicating effect on nerves and they are widely abused due to easy availability at pharmacies. The government has banned codeine-based syrups.
The drug license of the accused was cancelled twice in the past due to irregularities, officials said, adding that the grey market value of the seized syrup is around Rs 1 crore.
On June 16, information was received that a huge consignment of psychotropic substances was lying in a warehouse inside Aradhana Bhawan, Azadpur, police said.
A raid was conducted and 36,238 bottles of ‘Byerex’ syrup, illegally procured and stored in the warehouse, were seized at the instance of warehouse occupant Vipin Chawla, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) H G S Dhaliwal said.
The bottles were kept in 302 cardboard boxes, he said.
Chawla could not produce any document for valid possession of the syrup bottles which were procured and stored for illegal sale and drug abuse, police said.
Chawla was involved in the wholesale business of medicines for the last 12 years. Initially, he used to purchase medicines from authorised/legal distributors and would supply to local pharmacies through proper billing, police said.
However, while working in the sector, he realised that there was a huge demand for prohibited medicines. Hence, he started purchasing banned medicines from his sources and supplying them to his contacts in Delhi-NCR, Dhaliwal said.
He got a drug license issued in the name of his wife Neha in May 2020 and owned a shop at Aggarwal Plaza, Mukherjee Nagar. In October 2021, 15 cartons containing 1,800 bottles of codeine syrup were seized from his shop by the drugs control department and the license was cancelled, he said.
Thereafter, he got another license issued in his name in March 2022 and opened a shop at Derawal Nagar. However, in August 2022, his license was cancelled as 3,000 tablets of Alprax 0.5 mg were found illegally stored in his shop, Dhaliwal said.
An investigation is in progress to apprehend his associates and to verify the source of the recovered syrup, police added.