There are several drugs which are banned in developed markets, like The US and Europe, but are freely and readily available in India. Should this be the reason to be worried?
Experts feel that some of these drugs have been proved to be more harmful than efficacious. Not all drugs that are banned abroad need to be banned here in India as well. A drug is approved on the basis of its risk-benefit ratio where the benefit far outweighs the risk. But the risk-benefit ratio is context specific and dosage specific.
If a drug has been found to be non-efficacious or found out to have serious side effects or the manufacturer itself has withdrawn it, then it needs to be pulled out of the Indian market as well. Drugs like Buclizine, Oxyphenbutazone, Furazolidone, Nitrofurazone fall under this category. On the other hand, in case of some common cough and cold medicines that contain Phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which was banned by Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for some serious side effects, the ban has been stayed by the Madras High Court. Many Pharmaceutical companies continue to market drugs containing PPA. Once a drug is banned, a clear publicity should be made about it to all stakeholders- doctors, chemists and patients.
At times an otherwise harmful drug can be very effective to treat a more severe condition. For instance, Thioridazine, an anti-psychotic drug has been found to be effective in the treatment of multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis but is the cause of a fatal condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Quinodochlor, an anti-diarrhoeal drug, is known to cause blindness among the Japanese people-a phenomenon termed as pharmaco ethnicvariation of a drug. But there is no logic to ban a drug in India just because it is banned in Japan.
CDSCO has banned 91 drugs in India. The stockiest sales audit data of IMS for the month November 2012 shows that there are 21 brands being sold in the Indian market, which have cumulative sales of over 4.8 crore, containing the banned drugs in violation of the law. An instance highlighting the poor governance structure in India! People can get away with anything these days!
These drugs were manufactured by not just small players but also by some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in India, besides multinational companies.
Self-medication is the other threat among the people of India. For a simple cold or cough or some pain the affected ones goes to the medical stores or nearby pharmacy and purchase some drugs not knowing these simple symptoms are the part of the big picture. Let’s stop self-medication and put a habit of visiting hospital or a medical practitioner so as to make a better healthy habit.