The Ministry of Health has banned the production, sale and dispersal of about 328 fixed dose combinations of drugs (FDCs).
This ban will bring an end to a long legal battle between the ministry and the drug manufacturers. The battle, which has been ongoing since 2016, called for these ‘unsafe’ drugs to be banned.
A total of 6,000 brands will be affected by the ban, which has been imposed with immediate effect, including popular brands like Saridon.
The battle for banning the medicines had started two years ago, on March 10, 2016, when the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) had sent a notification, issuing a ban of manufacture, sale and distribution of a total of 349 FDCs.
But the manufacturers of these drugs had challenged the ban in a number of High Courts as well as the Supreme Court.
The apex court then directed the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) to examine the claims, which in turn said in it’s report that these combination may be ‘harmful for humans’.
The manufacturers and marketers of these medicines get them so much in people’s minds that people start buying them over the counter without even consulting a doctor. In many cases even Doctors cannot know the efficacy of a particular combination or a brand. This is the work of the Drug Control Authority to check out the efficacy and risks before allowing them to be manufactured.
The All India Drug Action Network, supporting the ban, said in a statement, “The banned FDCs account for about Rs 2,500 crore and represent only the tip of the iceberg. In our estimate, the market or unsafe, problematic FDCs in India is at least one-fourth of the total pharma market which is valued at Rs 1.3 trillion.”
Considering it to be the tip of the iceberg, that means there are many more drugs in the market that are being marketed freely and no one knows for how long they will be before another such ban comes into effect. By that time there would be some other combination doing rounds.
Probably the medicines that we are taking are doing more harm to us than benefits, causing more side effects. That leads us to take another medicine to counter those side effects and the cycle goes on.
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