India: Court rule in favour of unnecessary and costly drugs

December 6, 2016

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Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), the Indian circle of the People’s Health Movement in Haryana, has expressed concern and shock at a recent Delhi High Court verdict. The court has lifted the ban imposed on 344 fixed dose combinations (FDCs) of drugs by the government a few months ago. According to JSA all banned FDCs are irrational and there is no scientific rationale for allowing their continued use.

“This is a huge setback to the efforts aimed at bringing a semblance of order into the absolute anarchy that exists in India’s pharmaceutical sector,” JSA said in a statement issued on December 2nd. “Most of these are being manufactured in gross violation of regulatory procedures and should not have been allowed to be marketed in the first place. No textbook of medicine or pharmacology recommends the use of such combinations.” For instance, some of the cough syrups in the ban order are primarily being used as addictive substances and not as therapeutic agents.

Essential Medicines

The World Health Organization’s Model list of Essential Medicines includes only 24 FDCs (out of 358 medicines) and India’s national list includes only 16 FDCs (out of 348). Yet, according to the JSA, an estimated 40% of the Indian market for drugs consists of FDCs.

The network appeals to all individual physicians, associations of medical professionals and hospitals in India not to prescribe these FDCs. It also urges the government to appeal against the order lifting the ban. IFHHRO supports JSA’s position. Departing from the WHO Essential Medicines List and spending health budget on these FDC’s may jeopardize equal access to medicines and the right to health.

Source: web article JSA shocked at lifting of ban on 344 combination drugs. The Tribune, 2 December 2016

More information on the ban issued earlier in 2016 (website JSA)