Taking a call, on whether consumers should go on consuming gelatin capsules, derived from animal sources, or replace them with plant-based cellulose shells, an expert committee constituted by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has invited suggestions from the general public on replacing gelatin capsules with cellulose-based capsules which are of plant origin.
Gelatine ,a pivotal element in capsules, vitamin drugs and chicken fodder, is manufactured by processing the bones, skin and tissue of cattle. Last year, a proposal had been put forward to the Drug controller 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
It is reported that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare vide order dated 20.03.2017 had constituted an Expert Committee to address all the technical issues pertaining to replacement of gelatin capsules with cellulose based capsules for encapsulation of drugs.
The said Committee has now desired that views of stakeholders including manufacturers/marketers of HPMC capsules as well as NGOs who are working in this area or involved in this subject may also be obtained so that a considered view can be taken in the matter.
In order to examine the pros and cons of the proposal, suggestions/comments are invited from the Stakeholder/NGOs/Consumers within 21 days stated the notice issued by the Expert Committee on June 2, 2017.
Earlier the ministry had asked the pharma companies to comment on the issue. 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.
You can read the notice by clicking on the following link