India’s health ministry has further complicated decision making over the ban of drugs that are banned in some countries including those banned for some specific population segments.
The ministry submitted an action-taken report on 26th April after a parliamentary panel found lapses in drug regulation. In the report Indian health ministry said that “whenever a drug is banned due to adverse drug reactions in countries with well developed and efficient regulatory systems, the manufacture, import and marketing of such drugs would be immediately put under suspension till the safety of the drug is examined and established…”
As the book says, it is the duty of the ministry to ban drugs that are banned by drug regulators in the UK, the US, European Union, Australia, Japan and Canada and also simultaneously set up a panel to look into the suspension of sales of these drugs but it is not something that is brought into effect and they continue dodging the decision making by setting up review committees.
Health secretary Keshav Desiraju and Drugs Controller General of Indian G.N. Singh have both refused to comment on the report.
According to the parliamentary panel, 15 drugs that face curbs elsewhere continue to be sold in India. These include analgin, nimesulide (painkiller) and buclizine (appetite stimulant).
“They set up more review committees instead of taking tough decisions. These are stalling tactics and no amount of flak from the parliamentary panel seems to have an effect on the health ministry,” said Sanjay Jaiswal, member of the parliamentary panel on health.
An expert disclosed the motive behind this delaying tactics of the ministry to benefit drug makers. “In a written submission to the parliamentary committee in December, the ministry of health made a categorical commitment that it would ban all drugs prohibited for sale in US, the UK, EU, Australia, Japan and Canada,” said editor of the Monthly Index of Medical Specialities, C.M. Gulati. Gulati is also known to be an expert on rational use of drugs, he also pointed out “Not a single drug has been banned in the past four months. Such deliberate delay is hurting millions of consumers taking these harmful drugs. The only beneficiaries are drug companies.”