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India among top suppliers of pharma drugs used in trafficking: INCB Report 2019

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In accordance with the “Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2019”, by International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) released by United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), India is named among the top manufacturers of illicit and licit drugs that are smuggled to other countries.Highlights of report with reference to India:

Non Submission of Form P: India has not submitted Form P of INCB which is used to report annual statistics on the manufacture, trade and consumption of substances controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Other countries that did not comply are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Japan, Luxembourg and Spain.

Centre of manufacturing of tramadol: India is a significant source of illicitly manufactured products, branded and marketed as ‘tramadol’ that are seized worldwide. Tramadol is an opioid pain medicine that is addictive and abused for recreational purposes. Globally, most of the tramadol that was seized from 2013 to 2017 was reported to have originated in India. India was the source of 87% of the tramadol seized in Ghana in 2017. In recent years India has emerged as the centre of manufacturing of tramadol

Seizures: Codeine-based preparations, particularly a cough syrup, Phensedyl, continued to be seized in the region. In 2018, Indian authorities seized more than 51,821 bottles of Phensedyl.

  • Largest seizure in India: 8 tons of pseudoephedrine was confiscated in Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP) in a single seizure on May 11, 2019. This was the largest seizure on record in the country.
  • Seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants peaked again in 2018, at 931 kg. The highest total annual seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants in India were in 2016, with­­­ a record 1.7 tons of seizures.
  • Seizures of methaqualone in the country decreased to 99 kg in 2018, compared with 124 kg in 2017. It is a sedative and hypnotic medication.
  • Buprenorphine, another opioid pain relieving medication is also continued to be seized in India in both injectable and tablet forms.
  • Another drug, Phenobarbital, a substance included on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for treating epilepsy, is one of the most internationally traded controlled psychotropic substances, with more than 161 countries reporting imports of the substance in 2018. China is the lead manufacturing country of phenobarbital, having produced 154 tons in 2018, followed by India and Hungary, at 87.2 tons and 32.3 tons, respectively.

-Illicit precursor continued: The diversion of controlled pharmaceutical precursors, in particular ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, from licit to illicit channels has continued in India. A precursor is a compound that participates in a chemical reaction to produce another compound.

About INCB:
Establishment– 1968
Headquarters– Vienna, Austria
President– Cornelis P. de Joncheere

About UNODC:
Headquarters– Vienna, Austria
Director-General– Ghada Fathi Waly
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