The $ 1 billion capsule manufacturing industry has sat up in surprise on receiving India’s drug controller’s note to them about considering the bringing in of vegetarian capsules in place of the currently used Gelatine based ones. The drug controller informed them that a proposal has been received for the same.
Gelatine ,a pivotal element in capsules, vitamin drugs and chicken fodder, is manufactured by processing the bones, skin and tissue of cattle.
“A proposal has been received to replace Gelatine capsules with cellulose-based capsules which are of plant origin and are safe for use as compared to animal-based Gelatine capsules,” Mr. GN Singh, Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) wrote in a note. “In order to examine the pros and cons of the proposal, science-based suggestions and comments are invited from the stakeholders… within six weeks,” he added. The proposal has come a year after states including Haryana and Maharastra announced a ban on cow slaughter.
As reported by ET, responding to the DCGI’s proposal the capsule manufacturing industry came up with reactions. Mr. Sajiv Menon, Managing Director, Nitta Gelatine, one of the largest manufacturers in India said 95% of the capsules manufactured all over the world used Gelatine .
Gelatine is the standard raw material according to the pharma industry that is widely accepted world wide and used for manufacturing of pharmaceutical capsule shells.
The pharma industry also stated that the proposal to replace gelatin with a vegetarian Hydroxy propyl Methylcellulose capsule as an alternative was not a practical one , as HPMC is not compatible with all drugs.
Ajit Singh, the ACG Worldwide, Managing Director, Ajit Singh also expressed surprise on behalf of the pharma world saying that the credibility of Gelatine was beyond any doubts “There will be chaos in the pharma industry…. The machinery has to be changed. Also, the cost of vegetarian capsules is much higher, so prices of drugs may also go up.” Mr. Singh added.