New Delhi: The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is planning to introduce provisions in the Drugs and Cosmetics rules to allow pharmacists to give drugs for minor conditions and adjust dosages accordingly without doctor’s prescription in order to save patients to visit their doctor for every common ailment.
A new category of over the counter drugs (OTC) has proposed by the drug regulator which will be empowered the pharmacists to dispense the medicines without doctor’s prescription. The OTC drugs will be consist of anti-allergies, antipyretic (for fever), antiemetic (for vomiting and nausea), muscle relaxants, decongestants (for a cough and cold), anti-inflammatory drugs, antacids, external preparations for skin and hormonal contraceptives. There are some restrictions also pharmacists will not be allowed to prescribe habit-forming drugs or strong antibiotics.
The proposed provision will be discussed at the drugs consultative committee (DCC) meeting which will be chaired by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and attended by state drug controllers from all across India.
A special provision to include OTC medicines in the Drugs and Cosmetics rules has been proposed. If approved by DCC, the matter will be taken up by the government’s chief advisory body on drugs—the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB)—next month and will then be sent to the Union health ministry for final notification, according to the DCC agenda, reviewed by Mint.
LiveMint reports that over-the-counter drugs are common in many countries. Currently, in India allopathic drugs which are safe to be dispensed mostly fall under Schedule H and H1 and require a prescription. “As per Drug & Cosmetic Act, 1940 and thereunder Rules 1945, these drugs should be sold by prescription only. The new proposal, therefore, will make it easier for people to get these drugs hassle-free,” said a senior official told the daily, privy to the development requesting anonymity.
Kailash Gupta, president, All India Chemists and Distributors Federation, said, “The expanded powers will have several advantages including increased convenience and accessibility for those who need refills or have a minor condition. The patients will be able to cut down on doctor’s consultation fees and the improved ability of the pharmacist to help manage a patient’s long-term care will help alleviate pressure on hospital emergency rooms and doctor’s offices.”
“Other benefits include the ability of pharmacists to prescribe drugs in times of emergency and assist patients who don’t have a family doctor,” he added.