What to do if you get tampered medicines from a pharmacy

What typically happens when you go to a pharmacy? You show the prescription, buy the medicines that you need, check the MRP, pay for it, collect the bill and leave. Sounds simple enough right? Not always… Here’s an example of why you need to be doubly careful when you purchase medicines.

File pic. 

When Rajeev Gupta (name changed on request) bought a nasal spray from a pharmacy, little did he know that checking the above mentioned were not the only things he should have done. When he finally opened the bottle a home, to his surprise, he found it empty.

What do you need to do should you find yourself in a similar situation? Logic suggests that taking it back to the pharmacy, and demanding for a replacement would be the prudent thing to do. But what if the chemist doesn’t oblige? What then?

Things to keep in mind while buying a medicine

At the time of purchasing medicines, make sure you keep an eye out for a couple of things. Should anything go wrong, this will help you build a stronger case for yourself.

  • Ensure that the drug you have been prescribed is not banned by the Department of Drugs Control

  • Purchase medicines against the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP)

  • Verify the date of expiry mentioned on the label

  • Demand for the bill for the purchase of the drug

  • Verify that the price charged by the chemist is the same as the MRP printed on the label

  • Before you walk away, check for signs of tampering, or half-opened packs

What can you complain about?

According to the Drugs Control Department (DCD), the most common complaints that they receive are for the following.

  • Selling drugs in the absence of registered pharmacist

  • Selling drugs prescription of RMP and without issuing bills

  • Selling drugs without licence

Any complaints against violation of the following rules are considered valid.

  • Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules:

    • Manufacturing substandard drugs and spurious drugs

    • Selling drugs without valid licences

    • Selling in absence of Registered Pharmacist without the prescription of RMP and without issuing bills

    • Selling expired drugs, manufacturing without Licences

  • Selling drugs at higher prices [Drugs (Price Control) Order 2013]

  • Misleading advertisements related to drugs [Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act and Rules]

Where and how can you file a complaint?

If you want to file a complaint regarding any medicine that you have purchase, you can reach out to the Drugs Control Department, Karnataka, Palace Road, Bengaluru-560001, Karnataka, India.

Ph: (080)2226 2846 or (080) 2226 4760

Email: dckarnataka@gmail.com or dc.dcd-ka@nic.in

You are also allowed to send samples of a drug for analysis to the Government analyst as per Section 26 of Drugs & Cosmetics Act,1940. Details of the Drug Testing Laboratory can be found here.

For pharmacy chains

Well-known pharmacy chains like Apollo, Trust, or MedPlus typically have their own customer care numbers that would help you solve the issue.

Apollo Bangalore: (080) 22951503, Email: customerservice@apollopharmacy.in

MedPlus Bangalore: 1800 425 3100, Email: wecare@medplusindia.com

Trust Bangalore: (080) 40875300,(080) 40875300, Email: info@trustpharmacy.co.in

In case you are unable to find a resolution to your complaint through customer care, you can reach out to the Drugs Control Department.  

What details do you need to share?

Each area has a separate drug controller (DC). When you call the helpline to file your complaint, make sure you provide the pincode of the area where the pharmacy is located. You will be put in touch with the DC in charge of that area. He/She will then take down your complaint and initiate necessary action against the drug store.

Whether you are put in touch with a DC over the phone or if you are sending an email to the Drugs Control Department, you will be required to share the following information.

  • Your name, area and pincode

  • State the problem in detail

  • Remember to mention the name of the product, the company that has manufactured it

  • Name and address of the pharmacy where you bought the medicines from

  • The bill number, and if possible a copy of the bill

Once you have filed your complaint, someone from the office is sure to get back to you to enquire about the problem, investigate, and take necessary action.

What happens after you file a complaint?

“If any druggist violates the rules, action like suspension/cancellation of licence, and prosecution in the court of law will be initiated against him.” This is what the Deputy Drug Controller, Bangalore Regional office had to say when Citizen Matters asked him what action would be taken following a complaint.

Have you had a similar experience with a pharmacy? If you do, please share your experience in the comments section below the article.