New Delhi: The High Court today announced March 28 as the date to hear the matter pertaining to centre notification to ban 344 fixed dose drug combinations of various pharma companies. The court will continue to provide interim relief to companies like Abbot India and Macleods ( amoung others) who moved court against the ban challenging the decision of the government.
The government has been asked to furnish the expert committee’s report by the High Court bench headed by Justice RS Endlaw. It was on the basis of this report that the ban on the 344 fixed dose drug combinations was imposed. Abbot’s codeine-based cough syrup, being one of the banned drugs that the government included in the list of drugs that had ‘no therapeutic justification’, claimed the company’s representatives.
The interim relief till March 28 comes as a major relief to approximately 30 companies, including Pfizer, Abbott India, Glenmark, Procter & Gamble and Cipla, all of whom had stood up to the governments imposition. Abbot despite having suffered major financial setback due this imposition had reiterated its stand on continuing to do business in India and actively participate in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘ Make in India’ drive.
The union health ministry’s notification on March 10, led to the ban an aftermath of the examination conducted by the expert committee, which called the FDCs a threat to human lives. The committee in its recommendations to the central government advised prohibition of manufacture, sale and distribution of such drugs.
The Centre heeding its recommendations immediately imposed a ban on the manufacture, sale and distribution of such drugs under Section 26(A) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940; bringing cough and cold medicines like Corex, Phensedyl, Vicks Action 500 Extra and D-Cold under fire.
The ban has, not just been opposed by the pharmaceutical companies, but has met with huge resistance from Chemists as well who have stated that it was next to impossible to retrieve the banned medicines from counters before a months time.
Prime minister Modi’s intervention has also been sought by the Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists on the FDC ban issue . The unions have and threatened to go on a strike expressing the solidarity of the pharma industry on the issue.
According to a market research company, the ban was likely to lead to a loss of 1000 crores for the pharmaceutical sector. The annual loss estimate quoted to be a 3,049 crores, affecting three percent of the entire drug market.