The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) banned the production, sale, and distribution of 328 fixed dose combination drugs (FDCs), including the popularly used Saridon, on Wednesday.
FDCs are two or more drugs combined in a fixed ratio into a single dosage form. Furthermore, the ministry has also restricted the manufacture, sale or distribution of six FDCs subject to certain conditions.
This is not the first time that the issue has cropped up. In March 2016, the central government issued a gazette notification stating that FDCs would be banned. However, subsequent proceedings resulted in this being scrapped, despite several experts saying that unnecessary use of FDCs could pose several health risks.
“I think it is a good thing that these drugs are being banned. Many of the compositions are unnecessary. Any ingredient used should have an additive or synergistic effect, but many of these pharmaceutical companies combine drugs and sell them. And most of these drugs are easily available over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription, which poses even more risks,” says Dr Guna, a Chennai-based Pharmacology Professor.
“For a headache, a simple paracetamol would suffice, why are there so many excess ingredients in these other tablets?” he asks.
According to reports, many of these drugs which are safe individually can cause serious side effects when combined. The National List of Essential Medicines only lists 16 FDCs which may be used. Yet, hundreds of these medications are available for sale in the market. The list of drugs the MoHFW has now banned includes Saridon, an analgesic; Panderm cream, an ointment; Taxim AZ, an antibiotic; Corex cough syrup and D-cold.