‘In­dia has Be­come Dump­ing Ground for Drugs Banned in Other Coun­tries’

The Economic Times - - Companies - Prabha.Ragha­van@ times­group.com

NEW DELHI: Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies have long used In­dia as a dump­ing ground for ir­ra­tional fixed dose com­bi­na­tion (FDC) drugs re­jected by other coun­tries, ar­gued the govern­ment’s coun­sel at the Delhi High Court. The bat­tle be­tween the Cen­tre and sev­eral drug mak­ers that have op­posed the ban im­ple­mented on their brands last month is set to con­tinue as the court has ex­tended their in­terim re­lief for four more days. “In­dia has be­come a dump­ing ground for drugs banned in other coun­tries,” Ad­di­tional So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral and the govern­ment’s coun­sel, San­jay Jain, ar­gued in de­fense of the health min­istry’s move to ban 344 FDCs . “We are try­ing to stop that,” he told the court on Mon­day. The govern­ment’s coun­sel ar­gued that such a pileup of FDCs has con­trib­uted to drug re­sis­tance among many In­di­ans.

Ac­cord­ing to Jain, the Cen­tre was only ap­proached for ap­provals for four or five brands out of all the drugs cur­rently pe­ti­tioned at court. A ma­jor­ity of th­ese brands have re­ceived li­cences from State Li­cens­ing Au­thor­i­ties (SLAs) with­out fol­low­ing this process, ac­cord­ing to him. Over 100 pe­ti­tions have been filed fol­low­ing the gazette no­ti­fi­ca­tion re­leased on March 10. The govern­ment’s coun­sel also pointed out that 1,500 ap­provals have been granted pur­suant to this ex­er­cise.

The Cen­tre is not in­flu­enced by ac­tions pre­vi­ously taken by the Drug Con­troller Gen­eral of In­dia, who had granted the ap­provals to the se­lect brands ear­lier, Jain said. DCGI was not ac­tively in­volved in the Cen­tre’s ex­er­cise to study and ban th­ese FDCs, he added. “This ex­er­cise is dif­fer­ent from the one taken at present,” he said, adding that DCGI looked at in­di­vid­ual cases be­fore grant­ing ap­provals, while the govern­ment has not tar­geted spe­cific brands in ban­ning the com­bi­na­tions. ASG fur­ther ar­gued the ex­pert com­mit­tee was con­sti­tuted be­cause the statu­tory Drugs Tech­ni­cal Ad­vi­sory Board would not be able to take on an ex­er­cise of this mag­ni­tude.

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