The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) identified 51 medicine batches as "not meeting the standard quality" criteria in July. Image: ShutterstockI
n the past 12 months, several drugs have been identified or recalled in the country due to their side effects and people’s concerns about them. On September 5, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) advised patients and health care professionals to stop using Digene gel, a popular antacid, due to safety concerns. Abbott, the pharmaceutical company, has issued a voluntary recall of the product.
In June, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised concerns about seven cough syrups manufactured in India. This followed an investigation prompted by complaints from multiple countries regarding product contamination and associated health problems. The inquiry by the UN revealed high levels of diethylene and ethylene glycol in these cough syrups, which were linked to numerous fatalities worldwide.
In the same month, the Indian government imposed a prohibition on 14 fixed-dose combination (FDC) medications. These FDC drugs incorporate two or more active components in a set ratio and were determined by an expert panel to lack valid therapeutic reasoning.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) identified 51 medicine batches as "not meeting the standard quality" criteria in July. This included well-known medications such as Rosuvastatin from Sun Pharma Laboratories and a drug combination of Tamsulosin Hydrochloride and Dutasteride tablets produced by Cipla.Also read: Why ransomware groups are targeting pharma companies and the healthcare sector
LocalCircles, a social media platform and pollster focusing on governance, public and consumer interest issues, conducted a survey over the last six months, which received inputs from over 22,000 citizens in 341 Indian districts, raising concerns about the safety of medicines in India. As per the survey, 52 percent of Indians or their family members experienced side effects of medicines prescribed by doctors in the last five years. Thirty-four percent indicated that their family members have had such an experience once or twice; for 6 percent of the respondents, such incidents have happened more than 10 times in the last five years. Only 30 percent said they had not undergone such an experience.
When asked whether drug manufacturers should be obligated to provide information about the primary side effects either on the packaging or through an accompanying leaflet, 85 percent of citizens expressed strong agreement. Meanwhile, 11 percent of consumers believed that such a requirement was impractical, and an additional 4 percent felt it was unnecessary.