New Delhi: The Delhi government’s health department has written to the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for stopping the over-the-counter sale of nicotine gums and lozenges without an authorized prescription.
In a letter to DGCI Dr GN Singh, Addition Director (Health) Dr SK Arora said it had come to the notice of the department that pure nicotine having potential addiction property if used unsupervised was available in markets as a drug in the form of gums and lozenges which were being sold at chemist shops over the counter without any prescription.
Besides motivation, counseling and behavioral therapy, a small percentage of moderate to severely addicted tobacco users may require these drugs as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) under the direct supervision of a qualified doctor or counselor.
The NRT can help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms so that one can focus on the psychological aspects of quitting tobacco.
Sale of these drugs over the counter without prescription promotes self-therapy and malpractices and it may lead to merely shifting the person from one addiction to other, the letter read.
Moreover, the younger generation and minors who are not able to directly use tobacco products due to social or family fear may easily use it secretively, Arora said.
“This may adversely affect the health of our younger generations. Unsupervised NRT can lead to NRT overdose and may cause death in younger age group. It is worth mentioning that nicotine gums and lozenges in 2 mg strength are available on over the counter sale,” he said.
“Therefore, you are requested to look into the matter and take necessary action in the interest of public health at the earliest,” he said.