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Image"There is no official data but various reports suggest that the spread of such products could be anywhere between 20 to 25 per cent of the actual market," said Harinder Sikka, director of corporate affairs at Piramal Healthcare.

Countering arguments of large presence of 'fake drugs' as indicated by international research agencies and MNCs, Indian Drugs Manufacturing Association claimed spurious, misbranded and adulterated drugs account for below three per cent.

"Two years back, the Union Health Ministry had contracted a Hyderabad firm to study the presence of such drugs in the Indian market which it (firm) finally said was below even three per cent," IDMA Executive Director Gajanan Wakankar said.

"Though there is no specific data on the extent of such drugs in the market, the situation is not as alarming as it is made out to be. Let people who give such high figures (above 20 per cent) explain on what basis they are saying that," said assistant drug controller of India Arvind Kukrety.

Image: Bottles containing illegal liquid steroids seized by the Australian Customs.
Photographs: Reuters