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Supreme Court refers FDC drugs case to apex technical advisory body

The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the issue of fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs to the government’s expert body, Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB)

india Updated: Dec 14, 2017 23:53 IST
Priyanka Mittal and Teena Thacker
Priyanka Mittal and Teena Thacker
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,FDC Drugs,Drugs Technical Advisory Board
A View of Supreme court in New Delhi, India.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO Files)

The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the issue of fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs to the government’s expert body, Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), for a fresh review of their safety, efficacy and therapeutic justification before recommending action.

After the examination by the DTAB or a sub-committee constituted by it and hearing all concerned stakeholders, the expert body will be required to forward its report to the government for action within six months, held a bench headed by justice Rohinton F. Nariman.

The court kept out of the purview of its order the 15 FDCs that were licensed prior to 1988. It also held that status quo be maintai- ned in the case of the 329 FDCs being referred to DTAB for review.

Welcoming the order, the All India Drugs Action Network said the court’s directive clears way for the government to take steps to weed out large numbers of irrational, unscientific and hazardous FDCs prevalent in India.

“The 344 FDCs account for only about 5% of the value of total FDCs in India, approximately half of which are considered to be irrational. The government should proactively take advantage of the space afforded by this order to weed other irrational FDCs in the interest of patient safety,” said S. Srinivasan, co-convenor of the network.

Pfizer Ltd, the Indian unit of US-based drug maker, whose Corex cough syrup was part of the FDC drugs banned by the Centre, said it “fully supports the government in its goal of eradicating irrational combinations and medicines not duly approved by state and central regulators through a consultative process”.

In January, the Centre had filed an appeal against a December 2016 ruling of the Delhi high court quashing its 10 March, 2016 notification banning 344 FDC drugs citing health risks and lack of therapeutic justification.

On 31 March, SC stayed proceedings in all HCs against the ban on 344 FDC drugs. An FDC drug contains two or more active ingredients in a fixed ratio.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 23:53 IST