The government on Thursday told Delhi high court that the decision to ban 344 fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs was taken keeping in view “safety, efficacy and rationality” of these medicines.
The government, however, clarified before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that their initial concern was regarding licences being granted by the states for manufacture of FDC drugs, but by the time a final decision was taken, the focus shifted on safety of such medicines.
The submission came in response to the court’s observation that the entire exercise of setting up a panel to look into FDCs was undertaken to deal with fresh applications for licences.
The court was hearing over 150 petitions filed by several pharma firms, including Pfizer, Glenmark, Procter and Gamble and Cipla, challenging the government’s March 10 notification banning 344 FDCs, a decision which has been stayed by the judge in each case filed before it since March 14.
“My understanding is that the whole exercise was undertaken to deal with fresh applications for licences. If concern would have been of safety, then it (notification) would have said that so many complaints were received from patients and doctors, etc. Instead, the concern appears to be of licencing,” the judge said.
To this, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain said, “though the initial trigger was approval or licensing by state authorities, by the time a decision was taken, there was complete clarity that concern was safety, efficacy and rationality of these FDCs”.
The ASG also said there was no question of “political victimisation” as the decision was implemented irrespective of “face value” of a drug or the company manufacturing it.