ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Landmark Ban on Irrational Drugs

Cleaning Up the Pharma Industry

For over 30 years pharmaceutical companies have been selling fixed-dose combination drugs with scant need to justify their efficacy, safety or rationality for use. The Government of India has finally banned 344 such drugs, though pharma companies have been able to obtain interim judicial stay orders. It is hoped that the courts take into account the serious public health implications of the sale of certain drugs and allow regulatory intervention banning uncertified combination drugs, including codeine-based cough syrups and various cold and flu drugs.

In what is a landmark decision in favour of public health in a long time, the Government of India has banned 344 fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs at one go.

The impact on sales of the affected companies is estimated at Rs 3,000 crore a year and in terms of decrease in profit, it could be 20% of that at a liberal estimate, that is Rs 600 crore. The “hit” on pharmaceutical industry profits must be seen in perspective. The total annual profits made by the entire pharma industry in India, about Rs 40,000 crore, is about the same as the health budget of the Government of India.1

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