Police bust illegal cough syrup factory in Meghalaya

Shillong: On Sunday, Meghalaya law enforcement agencies cracked down on an underground factory engaged in the illicit production of spurious cough syrups. These counterfeit cough syrups, containing the highly addictive substance phensedyl, were being smuggled into neighboring Bangladesh

On Sunday, October 1, 2023, local police conducted a targeted raid on a godown located in East Jaintia Hills district‘s Khliehriat, acting on a tip-off. SP Jagpal Dhanoa informed media persons that authorities uncovered a haul of 9,883 bottles of counterfeit cough syrup inside the facility and an arrest was made in connection with the case.

Further investigations led them to an underground factory in Ummulong, where these syrups were being manufactured. The factory’s owner revealed that the majority of the spurious cough syrups were being sent across the border to Bangladesh.

Police seized 600 bottles of elcodyl cough syrup, 10 bottles of a flavoring agent, 11 bottles of food coloring, an extensive quantity of phensedyl, and several volumes of pharmacology-related books.

The haul also included cartons, phensedyl labels, bottles, and caps as well as a bottling machine and approximately Rs 11,000 in cash. Following an intensive interrogation of the two primary suspects, the police detained another individual believed to be involved in the transportation of these illegal syrups toward Assam.

Earlier this year in May, an NGO working in the West Garo Hills region raised questions on the Taxation department of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) after it continued to provide a Trading for Non-Tribals (TNT) license to hawkers of allopathic medicines.

The matter came to light after the Durama Imbama Norimbi Dikkimbi A’chik Magiparang (DINDAM) NGO visited the weekly market at Garobadha in South West Garo Hills (SWGH) where they found three hawkers selling allopathic medicines to people. 

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The activist questioned the right of the GHADC to issue medical distribution licenses to hawkers without even an iota of thought of the implications that it could have on the general public.

Also Read | Meghalaya: Alarm in Garo Hills over hawkers selling allopathic meds

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