A senior official in the union health ministry Friday said the World Health Organisation's (WHO) India Representative Nata Menabde had written to the ministry denying that any report from WHO claimed that a third of cheap generic drugs produced in India were counterfeit.
The denial came after reports appeared in the media quoting WHO and claiming that the bulk of cheap drugs manufactured in India were counterfeit.
Arun J Panda, joint secretary in the ministry of health said: "There have been reports recently that say the bulk of medicines produced in India are counterfeit. We disagree."
"The reports also quoted WHO, so I wrote to WHO's country representative, who wrote back to say that they had never said anything to that effect," Panda said.
Panda was speaking at a seminar on the pharmaceuticals industry organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce. He said the letter from WHO would be put up on the ministry's website.
Panda, however, said that a small quantity of sub-standard, and very small quantity of spurious drugs were found in surveys conducted by the government.
"We export drugs worth US$ 13 billion to 230 countries. During various surveys, we have come across four to five percent substandard drugs, and some 0.4 percent of spurious drugs," he said.
The official also said that often the standard of the drugs is affected by poor storage.
Speaking at the conference, L.C. Goyal, additional secretary in the cabinet secretariat, emphasised that production of generic medicine was needed to meet the target of providing free medicines as planned by the government.