Planet Health (Ahmedabad), Enron (USA) and Trust (Universal)


Remember Enron?

“Enron bullied members of the Congress. it menaced the analysts afraid of losing investment business; it manipulated the media. it took California electricity consumers for a ride; it pulled wool over the eyes of its own employees. In the midst of all this, Enron headquarters was festooned with banners calling for integrity, honesty and good corporate citizenship”. (Ref: Bibb Sally & Kourdi Jeremy. “Trust Matters”; Palgrave MacMillan, Hampshire: 2004 )

Now you will also remember Planet Health, Ahmedabad, for almost similar reasons.

Planet Health is a chain of medical stores in Ahmedabad. Visit their main stores at Nehrunagar (Nr. Panjrapole Bus Stand). The shop is festooned with banners and posters cautioning the patients and customers on spurious drugs and banners which imply that all the medical stores in Ahmedabad sell only spurious drugs and genuine drugs are available only at Planet Health.

And this is how Planet Health behaves! I reproduce herewith a letter to their Managing Director, which will explain the reason behind this blog.

“Dear Ankurbhai,

It is very sad and unfortunate that Planet Health has started selling imitation products and that too, even to regular customers.

I have been regularly using Elovera Cream (Glenmark) for the past three years and purchasing it from Planet Health. If you desire, you can check my purchase records.

I normally place my orders via SMS and your people keep it ready. I just pick it up blindly or is arranged to send home. This time too I did the same.

On 17th April, Elovera Cream (Glenmark) was surreptitiously replaced, by a poor imitation local brand, almost similar in shape, packing, design and even the name ‘Vera’.

The packing is so deceptive that even a well-informed person like me could not distinguish it from the original Elovera Cream.

Its only when I opened the jar today, I realized that it is not the genuine ‘Elovera’ of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals!  Immediately on opening the jar, I noticed that an obnoxious smell emanating from the jar. Original Elovera Cream is free from any fragrance. It was then I examined the pack, the jar, and the manufacturer very closely, only to find that I have been dished out a poor imitation substitute of Elovera Cream. I was just stunned, that this was coming from Planet Health.

I never expected Planet Health to indulge in such unethical practises.

My neighborhood kirana type retailer would never have done this.

Trust matters a lot. My trust in Brand Planet Health now has totally eroded beyond repairs.

Thank you very much.

Vivek Hattangadi”

Friends, a similitude between Enron and Planet Health on the issue of trust!

Creating trust is an art. Sometimes we work at it, mostly we do not pay much attention to it – unless things go wrong, in which case problems and pain invariably result.

Would you ever purchase a brand on which you have lost trust? I have lost trust on Planet Health totally, more so after they refused to replace the spurious brand sold to me.

Definition of spurious drugs and per the ‘Spurious Drugs Act; 2008’ also known as ‘Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill 2008’

  1. The definition of a spurious drug is complicated to say the least. A medication which does not contain the correct amount of medicine, a product which is misbranded or one which is produced with a packaging looking like a similar high-selling product all come under the definition of ‘spurious’.
  2. If it is imitation of, or is a substitute for, another drug or resembles another drug in a manner likely to deceive or bears upon it or upon its label or container the name of another drug unless it is plainly and conspicuously marked so as to reveal its true character and its lacks of identity with such other drug;

Both, the photographs of Elovera Cream and the spurious imitation are appended. The spurious drug is so deceptively similar to the reputed and fast selling brand – Elovera Cream of Glenmark.

Notice how deceptively similar is the spurious product dished out by Planet Health 


Friends, this blog is basically to create awareness amongst the citizens of India on the spurious and imitation drugs available in the market. Whenever you buy medicines, do not go by who is the seller – DO NOT HAVE BLIND FAITH ON ANYONE.Take the following precautions:

1. See whether the drug which has been billed matches word-to-w0rd with the prescription. When in doubt, call back on the doctor.

2. If it is a repeat purchase, do not go by the pack design, strip design – see the brand name.

3. Check expiry date and date of manufacturing, even if you are purchasing it from so-called big-names. Shun the drug if it is nearing expiry.

4. Do not be misled by similar sounding names. The ingredients could be different.

5. If one is on chronic therapy, like hypertension, cardiovascular ailments, epilepsy, diabetes and many more, do not change the brand for a cheaper substitute. They may not be bio-equivalent.

6. Be more careful with antibiotics as chances of substitution are very high here because of the various schemes and monetary gains offered by the low-end pharma companies.

7. Also talk to your doctor and get a prescription from renowned and national level companies rather then companies which operate in one or  two states.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

On 24th April 2012, on the auspicious occasion of  अक्षय तृतीया, I have launched a viral campaign against spurious drugs. I am sure you too will join this campaign against spurious drugs / imitation drugs.

Please see the latest news in Pharmabiz


P A Francis (Editor Pharmabiz)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Centre had notified the Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, also known as Spurious Drugs Act, in 2008 with great expectations of curbing the menace of manufacturing and sales of spurious drugs in the country. This illegal business, an organized and nationwide criminal activity supported by certain powerful vested interests, has been challenging drug control administration in the country for several years in the absence of effective provisions in the D&C Act. Now, after several years of debate, a bill amending the D&C Act with some key provisions to eliminate this menace has been passed by the Parliament in November 2008. The amended law contains stringent provisions such as a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Rs. 10 lakh for those engaged in the manufacturing  of fake drugs. There are similar punishments provided for prosecuting members of the pharmaceuitcal trade also. The amended Act is somewhat comprehensive in tackling the menace and the drug inspectors have been given adequate powers to enforce the Act. It has  provision of making the offences cognizable and non bailable. One of the main hurdles faced by state drug control departments has been the inordinate delays in prosecuting the offenders. The provision to have special courts to handle spurious drug cases in the new law is thus very significant and could prove to be a powerful deterrent. Industry and trade, however, have been objecting to these stringent provisions on fears that drug control officials may misuse them leading to harassment of their members. Their concern cannot be totally ignored considering the kind of corruption exists in most state government offices today.




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