The hunt for a new cough syrup begins. Instead of going directly to the neighbourhood medical shop, this time you will have to visit a doctor to get medicines for that annoying cold. The Health Ministry recently banned about 344 fixed dose combination drugs, including cough syrups compositions.
The pharmaceutical industry did not take the ban well. The Economic Times reported that lobby groups of pharmaceutical companies are fighting the ban and get the Health Ministry revoke it. According to the latest report on The Hindustan Times, the Delhi High Court has put a hold on the ban on the manufacture and sale of the fixed dose combination drugs till Monday, which is the next hearing date. For now, Corex, D’Cold, Saridon, Vicks Action 500 Extra and other drugs will be available at least till Monday.
An Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) is a combination of two or more drugs in fixed proportion. Among the 344 FDC are codeine based cough syrups, anti-diabetic drug metformin combinations, anti-inflammatory nimesulide and diclofenac, according to a report in The Mint.
The report further explains that these FDCs have become popular in India due to better efficacy and compliance, reduced cost and easy distribution. In fact, this ban is not the first. In 2007, withdrawal of 294 combinations were ordered as they were being sold without the government approval. Reports suggest that nearly half the drugs sold in India in 2014 were combination drugs.
According to the recent government notification, the matter has been examined by an expert committee appointed by the Central government.
"On the basis of recommendations of the said expert committee, the Central government is satisfied that it is necessary and expedient in public interest to regulate by way of prohibition of manufacture for sale, sale and distribution for human use of the said drugs in the country," the notification said.
Health experts and doctors have warned that the increased use of antibiotic combinations may have caused antibiotic resistance, as per The Hindustan Times report. Side-effects of these FDCs largely go unreported since these medicines are over-the-counter and patients don't consult a doctor before taking any of the drugs.
Health experts believe that the side-effects of some of the combinations could carry risks as the "effects are different from those of its individual components," according to a report in The Indian Express. The report further explained that it becomes dangerous when an adverse reaction affects a patient and the doctors are unable to pin it on the particular ingredient responsible for the reaction.
However, this is only the beginning. According to media reports, there are more bans on the way.
With inputs from PTI, Reuters