The Union Health Ministry has handed out a list of 328 medicine combinations – including popular painkillers that are now banned in India and also added restriction to dosage of 6 other drugs by tagging them to be risky for consumption and holding no significant therapeutic benefits.

Under the Section 26 A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of IPC, the government has banned a total of 328 Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drug combinations for human use and consumption, immediately effective from today. Also, the dosage of six other drug combinations have been restricted to ensure controlled and safe usage of high-power medicines. Tagged as therapeutically ineffective and risky for consumption, the new list of banned drug combination adds up to the previous 344 FDCs that were banned last year; and the list bans some popular painkillers like Saridon.

The rollout of the list brings an end to the long-going battle since 2016 – between drug manufacturers and the Health Ministry over restricting “irrational” and “unsafe” drugs in India. In 2017, the entire matter of detecting unsafe drugs was taken over and examined by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, which concluded that there was no therapeutic justification for the usage of all 328 drugs. Hence, the government banned manufacture, sale and distribution of these drugs as well as restricted the same for six FDCs that are subject to certain conditions.

The ban has been issued by the government in public interest as prolonged or non-prescribed intake of all these FDCs involve health risks. However, the immediately effective ban will shave off about Rs 1500 crore worth drugs manufactured by over 6000 pharmaceutical brands in India. The FDCs that will have to go off the shelf immediately includes a bunch of popular painkillers, anti-diabetic, respiratory and gastro-intestinal medicines like painkiller Saridon, the skin cream Panderm, combination diabetes, drug Gluconorm PG, antibiotic Lupidiclox and antibacterial Taxim AZ in the country.

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