MBBS doctor, pharmaceutical factory owner among 7 arrested for manufacturing, selling fake cancer drugs

The Delhi Crime Branch successfully dismantled an international counterfeit drug manufacturing operation on Tuesday, apprehending seven individuals, among them an MBBS-qualified doctor and the proprietor of a pharmaceutical factory.

Special Commissioner of Police for the Crime Branch, RS Yadav, disclosed to ANI that the arrests included two engineers, a doctor, and an MBA. Additionally, three other suspects are presently at large, with efforts underway to apprehend them.

This illicit network had been active for approximately three to four years, specializing in the production of counterfeit life-saving cancer medications distributed in India, China, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Following investigations that led to the discovery of manufacturing facilities in Sonepat, Haryana, and the raid of a warehouse in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, law enforcement seized counterfeit medicines from around 20 global brands valued at over Rs 8 crore. Substantial quantities of raw materials and equipment used in the production and packaging process were also confiscated.

The three fugitives include two doctors, one from Bangladesh, and another from Bihar who is believed to have operated the network from Nepal and Bangladesh, according to HT reports.

“An international counterfeit drug manufacturing operation has been dismantled, resulting in the arrest of seven individuals, including two engineers, a doctor, and an MBA. The suspects were involved in the production of counterfeit life-saving cancer drugs. We uncovered a factory in Sonipat, Haryana, and a warehouse in Ghaziabad,” stated Yadav.

“We’ve seized counterfeit medicines valued at Rs 8 crore on the market. This operation had been ongoing for the past 3-4 years, relocating at least twice, but we continued to track them. At least three additional individuals involved in this operation are on the run, and efforts are being made to apprehend them as soon as possible,” the Special CP of the Crime Branch added.

According to the latest report from Hindustan Times, the arrested individuals have been identified as Dr. Pradhan (34), Shubham Manna (29), Pankaj Singh Bohra (27), Ankit Sharma (26), Ram Kumar alias Harbir (43), Aekansh Verma (27), and Prabhat Kumar (45). Dr. Pradhan graduated with an MBBS from China in 2012 and subsequently worked as a junior doctor at GTB Hospital, Super Speciality Cancer Institute, and Deepchand Bandhu Hospital.

During interrogation, Dr. Pradhan revealed that during his MBBS studies, a classmate from Bangladesh informed him that he could provide the Actual Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) needed to manufacture counterfeit cancer medications. He also explained that some cancer drugs were in high demand in India and China, commanding exorbitant prices. Consequently, they saw an opportunity to earn substantial profits by selling these counterfeit medicines.

Upon leaving his position at GTB, Dr. Pradhan, along with others, allegedly devised a plan to manufacture and distribute fake cancer drugs. Among the arrestees, Harbir is the owner of a pharmaceutical factory in Sonepat where these fraudulent drugs were produced. Verma and Kumar operate pharmaceutical companies in Chandigarh and Delhi, respectively, as reported by special commissioner of police (crime) Ravindra Yadav.

Special CP Yadav further disclosed that the interstate crime branch had received information regarding this international counterfeit drug racket. Subsequently, it was discovered that the gang was packing and storing these counterfeit drugs at a warehouse in Tronica City near Ghaziabad.

“It was further learned that Pardhan and Manna were living in a flat at Sector-43, Noida, UP, and operating and managing all the operations from there. On their instructions, Pankaj Bohra and Ankit Sharma used to deliver the spurious medicines to various locations in Delhi and would engage ‘We Fast’ courier service for nationwide deliveries,” said Yadav.

Consequently, the crime branch formed dedicated teams to decode and track the activities of these suspects. During one operation, a team tracked the movement of an alleged individual near Bhairon Mandir Road, close to Pragati Maidan, on November 10. The individual was reportedly carrying a bag on a scooter. After detaining the suspect, the police discovered counterfeit medicines in the bag. Following questioning, it was determined that these medicines were fake, and only a reputable pharmaceutical company was authorized to sell them in India.

The second team subsequently arrested the doctor and other suspects from a Noida-based apartment, seizing approximately Rs 1.3 lakh in cash and a significant quantity of counterfeit cancer medications.

Regarding the doctor’s interrogation, Special CP Yadav informed HT, “Dr. Anil Jaiswal, a friend of theirs who also completed his MBBS in China, agreed to supply such counterfeit medicines through his contacts in India and China. Subsequently, Pradhan enlisted the help of his cousin Manna and other associates to begin manufacturing counterfeit medicines for cancer treatment. Initially, they designed foil strips and outer packaging, which were printed in Dehradun and Noida. Capsules were acquired from Verma for packaging the spurious powder. Capsules and foil paper were provided to Harbir, who procured the necessary raw materials and produced tablets and capsules at his Sonipat, Haryana factory, as per their requirements. They rented a warehouse in Tronica City for the final packaging and distribution. Pradhan and Manna established a supply chain through Dr. Anil, Aekansh, and Prabhat.”

“The arrested individuals were profiting from the suffering of cancer patients, selling them false hope by providing counterfeit drugs with no active ingredients, and endangering the lives of innocent individuals already grappling with life-threatening diseases like cancer. They were dispatching shipments of spurious drugs to China and Bangladesh via couriers to individuals, along with fraudulent medical declarations to evade detection,” stated an Inspector from the crime branch who led the entire operation.