09 June 2011
By Kounteya Sinha New Delhi, India
Dr Singh told TOI, "India should not be caught napping when it comes to banning drugs that have been banned by other countries. We should know which drugs are getting banned and come to know of it as soon as the announcement is made. The cell will follow the regulatory status of all drugs being sold globally and in the domestic market.. It will be in close contact with international regulatory organizations like the USFDA, MHRA (UK) and TGA (Australia)."
Drug expert C M Gulati cited that some drugs banned abroad are still sold in India. "Analgin (pain killer), which causes serious blood dyscrasias, is still available. It is sold under brand names Novalgin and Baralgan, and has an annual sale of Rs 20 crore. Though Deanxit is not approved by drug control authorities of the UK, Canada, Australia and Japan, its annual sale is pegged around Rs 50 crore," he said.
"Letrozole for female infertility is sold under various brand names in India such as Letroz and Letoval, which are internationally approved for treatment of only breast cancer patients who have reached menopause. Both the Canadian drug regulator and drug manufacturer Novartis have warned gynaecologists across the world not to misuse it for female infertility."
Dr Gulati added, "Phenylbutazone, a pain killer that causes blood dyscrasias, is available in India. Quiniodochlor (brand name Enteroquinol) is anti–diarrhoeal and causes damage to sight. Thioridazine for schizophrenia is discarded globally, but sold in India."
Body to implement anti–tobacco curbs A National Tobacco Regulatory Authority (NTRA) will be set up to impose anti–tobacco laws in India, where people puff away in restaurants, hotels and theatres despite a ban on smoking in public places. Another major concern is the mushrooming of cigarette shops within 100 metres of a school, or tobacco products being sold to children.
"The National Tobacco Regulatory Body, being set up by the Union health ministry, will impose all existing anti–tobacco laws stringently. It will also test samples of chewing and smokeless tobacco products for harmful substances," an official said.