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Vidya Balan’s new Bollywood film in trouble for using cough syrup in promotions

Complaints filed with Maharashtra FDA that it promotes self-medication and that the syrup contains ingredients that can cause adverse side-effects

mumbai Updated: Nov 08, 2017 10:02 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Vidya Balan,Cough syrup,Tumhari Sulu
Vidya Balan in a still from the movie.(HT)

The promotional material for an upcoming Vidya Balan movie, Tumhari Sulu, which features an over-the-counter (OTC) cough syrup, has come under the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) scanner.

Complaints have been filed with the authority that the syrup contains ingredients that can cause adverse side-effects for patients with existing neurological, cardiovascular, psychological and breathing complications.

Speaking to HT, FDA officials said they would check the contents of the syrup and issue notices to officials concerned on the basis of a complaint.

However, Tanuj Garg, co-producer of Tumhari Sulu, said, “We are not aware of this. We will have to check.”

The Chandigarh-based pharmaceutical company, which manufactures the cough syrup, was pulled up by FDA Maharashtra in 2015 for promoting a fairness cream, which allegedly contained corticosteroid. FDA had also prohibited the marketing of the product in the state.

“We are aware of the fact that the pharmaceutical company is involved in both these products. We will definitely check the contents of the syrup and issue notices based on the complaint,” said Arjun Khadtare, FDA joint commissioner (drugs).

HT tried to get in touch with the pharmaceutical company for a comment, but there was no response.

Dr Tushar Jagtap, a medical activist, recently wrote to the FDA commissioner, citing how the advertising campaign promoted self-medication.

“A drug is prescribed, taking into consideration factors like safety, efficacy, need of that particular molecule, age of the patient, dosage schedule, drug-drug interactions, history of allergy and other important aspects,” said Dr Jagtap.

“General information provided by the advertisement and the leading actress is misleading and can endanger the lives of many unsuspecting patients. In our country, self-medication is rampant and these kind of advertisements promote the same,” Dr Jagtap said.

Other doctors said many of the existing cough syrups in the market have similar properties and almost all of them are sold OTC.

“Self-medication is an issue indeed but a lot of research goes into the product before it’s sold without a prescription. Moreover, the dosage of the product or its habituation is more of a subjective issue. Having said that, it’s true that self-medication shouldn’t be promoted through such advertisements,” said Dr Pradip Shah, MD physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

First Published: Nov 08, 2017 10:02 IST