New Delhi: In an initiative to stop the sale of antibiotics and other high-risk drugs without prescription by some pharmacies, as well as to ease out the sale of over the counter medicines, the government is soon going to come out with specific lists, detailing the the OTC medicines while clearly differentiating the ones which mandate a doctors prescription.
Commonly sold medicines for cough, cold, flu and pain relief such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and other analgesics will be put into the OTC list as per government plans, which will facilitate their sale without any difficulty for the patient.
The Drugs Consultative Committee, headed by a joint secretary in the health ministry, has formed a sub-committee aiming to create a legal framework which will be liable to regulate Over The Counter selling of drugs (OTC). The committee will also be drafting penalty for the illegal sale of prescription only drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
The panel that is formed by the Drugs Consultative Committee will also study the international models and the list of OTC medicines in other countries.
An official told TOI, “The sub-committee will submit its report within three months.”
“Once we have a notified list of OTC drugs, it will be easier to track those selling ‘prescription only’ drugs without a prescription from registered medical practitioner. This will also help us create more awareness among consumers,” the official said.
It is also to be noted that there are several medicines listed in Scheduled H and X of the Drug and Cosmetics Rules, but are easily available over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. The government is is reported to be working to correct this loophole.
A senior official told TOI in this connection,”In the absence of a legal framework, chemists are selling some commonly used ‘prescription-only’ drugs like paracetamol or those for cold and cough over the counter. Besides, some crucial drugs, mainly high-end antibiotics, are also getting pushed as OTC medicines,” The indiscriminate use of antibiotics, sometimes without prescription, has led to a rise in immunity against drugs, creating serious problems in managing infections. The government has been pressing for more cautious use of antibiotics.