The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked the anti-narcotics task force to reduce the amount of codeine phosphate manufactured in the state. The order came after the FDA found that codeine (cough syrup) was being illegally sold to addicts.
On February 14, the anti-narcotics task force —which includes the narcotics control bureau (NCB), the FDA, the directorate of revenue intelligence and Mumbai police’s anti-narcotics cell—met and discussed the issue.
A government factory, run by the NCB at Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh, produces the chemical codeine and dispenses it to pharmaceutical companies.
“We have asked the NCB to reduce the quota for producing codeine. It is more than the state population requires,” said Sanjay Kale, joint commissioner, vigilance, FDA. According to sales figures, about 1.6% of the state’s population consumes codeine phosphate.
The FDA has cracked down on chemists selling codeine phosphate syrups without a prescription and also without issuing a sales bill.
Since 2011, the FDA has cancelled more than 60 licenses of chemists violating rules and filed FIRs against 10 chemists so far.
In a letter to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Autho-rity last April, the state FDA had said that most cough medicines are abused by addicts and create social instability, especially among the youth. The letter also highlighted offers provided by pharmaceutical companies to purchase medicines in bulk at cheap prices.
“The retail price of formulation containing codeine phosphate syrups should be fixed in public interest and the retailer’s trade margin should a maximum of 16% excise duty,” the letter said.