Samples of the products seized have been sent off for tests at a laboratory and include products ranging from shampoos to body lotions, face creams, make-up, hair dyes and various other hair care products.
According to a news publication on the region, The Times of India, the city of Patna is a hotbed for fake cosmetics, and large amounts of products are frequently seized there following raids.
“There are many shops that openly retail such fake products in the name of top national brands in the heart of the city,” legal official Mustafa Hussain informed the publication.
Although the authorities were successful in uncovering these retail outlets, they have yet to determine where the products are coming from, if they are being made in domestic factories or are being smuggled in from elsewhere.
"Most of the seized products are made in Delhi or Ludhiana but carry the labels of a number of foreign name-brands. Fakes of branded cosmetics have found their way not only into small outlets but also the supermarkets and malls,” state drug controller Hemant Kumar Sinha told the publication.
India is the latest country on the Asia Pacific region where illegal or fake cosmetics have been found to have been openly available to consumers. The Philippines and Israel have been in the press of late after cosmetics containing mercury and skin drugs passing themselves off as whitening products were found on their markets.
New regulations to impede unsafe cosmetics
With an increasing amount of foreign brands entering the Indian market, the Ministry of Health recently updated its regulations to ensure that unsafe cosmetics like the ones mentioned above, don’t enter the chain.
The strategy includes all companies importing cosmetic products having to register with an apex drug regulator Central Drug Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) as of April 1st, 2013.
“Many consumers focus on the cost instead of quality and go for cheap products. They believe they are best because they are from another country and this can lead to skin problems. This new regulation aims to eradicate this problem, therefore those failing to do so will face financial penalty, and even jail term."
Until now, the industry has been without any regulation, and the Ministry has remained indecisive as to implementing the guidelines notified in May 2010. It had an initial enforcement date of April 1, 2011, and has since been extended thrice to October 1, 2011, April 1, 2012 and then September 1, 2012.