The Health Ministry has banned 344 fixed drug combinations through a gazette notification issued over the weekend. These include several common cough syrup solutions, analgesics and antibiotic combinations, many of which are sold over the counter.
The ban, which comes into effect immediately, follows recommendations of an expert committee formed to examine the efficacy of these drug combinations. The industry though may question the basis of the ban and seek judicial intervention.
The list of banned drugs includes Nimesulide, which had been a cause of concern for long for health experts for its continued use in India despite being banned in most of the developed nations.
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Fixed drug combinations have mushroomed in the market as companies in their quest for newer products — and often to beat price control — mix and match ingredients into a single molecule to market them as newer remedies.
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Many of these which have an antibiotic as one of the ingredients are sold over the counter, thus adding to the menace of drug resistance. The Health Ministry recently launched a drive to crack down upon irrational use of antibiotics and also notified a special schedule of drugs for which chemists will not only need to check the prescription before selling them but also maintain records with themselves or face government action.