City doctors are receiving anxious calls from diabetic patients worried about the ban on anti- diabetic drug pioglitazone.
“Our patients are now left with the option to either switch to insulin or opt for costlier yet less effective drugs,” said Dr Siddhart Shah, editor of Journal of Association of Physicians of India (JAPI).
Pioglitazone is the second and third line of treatment for Type 2 diabetes and is one of the commonly prescribed medicines for the treatment, said doctors.
Doctors said that over 30 lakh diabetes patients across the country were on pioglitazone drug banned last week.
The union health ministry had issued a notification announcing the ban on June 18.
Along with pioglitazone, two other drugs- analgin (painkiller) and deanxit (antidepressant) were also banned due to alleged health risks associated with the drugs.
Doctors complained that the Indian government relied on foreign data which links urinary bladder cancer with the intake of pioglitazone.
Doctors allege that scientific evidence was ignored before banning the drug and that the drug’s benefits outweighs the risk factors.
“Every drug has its side effects as well. The government should have considered the fact that in pioglitazone, the benefits outweigh the risks,” said diabetologist Dr Vijay Panikar from Lilavati Hospital.
“In 2000, when pioglitazone came into the market, the sale of insulin and other combination drugs went down drastically.”