Police detectives busted a factory in the capital's Demra and arrested seven people for manufacturing and selling fake medicines to pharmacies in remote areas.
The arrested are Tariqul Islam, Sayed Al Mamun, Saidul Islam, Monwar, Abdul Latif, Nazmul Dhali, and Sagar Ahmed Milon.
They were arrested from the Kajla, Arambagh, and Mitford areas on Wednesday in a raid by the Lalbagh detective branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), police said in a briefing on Friday.
Each of the seven arrested was remanded to police custody for three days in a case filed with Bangshal Police Station.
"The arrested were manufacturing fake medicinal drugs in the factory and transporting that to different districts using some groups active in Old Dhaka's Mitford medicine market," said DMP Additional Commissioner for DB, AKM Hafiz Akter.
"A syndicate is distributing counterfeit medicines, which is more dangerous than the prevalence of narcotics in the country, and are targeting small-town pharmacies," he said.
Tariqul and Mamun set up the illegal factory while Saidul was the key medicine manufacturer, with Monwar and Latif working as his assistants, he added.
After manufacturing, Nazmul would use logos of different brands in packaging the medicines and then distribute these in markets using other groups in Mitford, DB officials said.
Seven hundred boxes of Acme's Monas, 50 boxes of Square Pharmaceutical's Seclo, 748 boxes of Zenith Pharmaceutical's Naproxen Plus, and a number of other counterfeit medicines, dices, and boxes were seized in the raid.
Different courier services were used to transport these fake medicines to remote areas of the country, said DB officials.
They said chemicals and other ingredients used to make these medicines were of very low grade and could cause severe physical damage after consumption.
According to DB police, the medicines were manufactured with low-grade starch, steroids, and dye, and these can cause severe damage to kidney, liver, and heart.
Bangladesh is currently exporting medicines to 145 countries and such counterfeiting tarnishes the image of the industry, they added.
Besides the seven culprits arrested now, DB officials also recently seized other fake medicines and arrested eight other people for manufacturing and distributing these counterfeit medicinal drugs across the country, using forged logos of different brands.