Health dept seeks ban on sale of over-the-counter TB drugs

The state health department has asked the Food and Drugs Administration to ban the sale of certain TB drugs that are sold without prescription at chemist shops across the city.

Published: April 5, 2012 2:30 am

The state health department has asked the Food and Drugs Administration (Maharashtra) to ban the sale of certain TB drugs that are sold without prescription at chemist shops across the city.

Health department officials said the move would help in curbing the indiscriminate sale of TB drugs and thereby reduce drug resistance. “Very often,people take to self medication and purchase the drugs from chemists without a doctor’s prescription. Not only does this affect the individual,it increases the level of drug resistance of the TB virus. If the sale of drugs is monitored,people will be forced to take treatment the right way,” said Dr P Gaikwad of the state health services.

Among the drugs that the department has flagged are those used for treatment of diarrhoea,cold and cough. “Indiscriminate use of antibiotic drugs is what gives rise to extreme drug resistant TB. Use of these medicines is worse when administered to a person already suffering from TB,” Gaikwad said.

FDA officials,however,said the sale of these drugs needed to be regulated though a blanket ban was not entirely feasible. “These are drugs used for treatment of diseases other than TB too,so we are not authorised to ban them entirely unless there is an order from the Central Government. However,it definitely is important to regulate the sale of over-the-counter drugs,” said KB Shende,joint commissioner (drugs),FDA.

Shende said chemists across the city had been ordered to keep a record of patients and doctors who prescribe these drugs,failing which their shop licences could be cancelled. “Chemists need to maintain a detailed record of the sale of these drugs. We have also been conducting routine checks. Patients must also be aware of the consequences of the indiscriminate use of certain drugs,” Shende said.

Civic health officials have welcomed the initiative. “Over-the-counter sale of drugs should be curbed for every disease. Medication needs to be monitored and both doctors as well as patients need to be aware of its adverse effects,” BMC executive health officer Dr A Bandivdekar said.

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