You cannot stay without it and yet, you cannot help but question it uncompromisingly. The realm of healthcare is one that is often doused in controversy and seeped in a bit of a mystery. There’s great awareness about cancer. And, at the same time, also of cancer-busting drugs not being sold at affordable costs. The same can be said about other aspects of the healthcare industry, grappling with medicines and drugs.

What about Saridon? We’ve seen an endless run of the TV commercial that states, “Sirf EK Saridon aur Sar-dard se Aaram!” This means, pop in just 1 pill for head-ache and then, say goodbye to the problem.

But now, in lines with the latest ruling by the Government of India, it seems that consuming drugs like Saridon, itself, was the cause of a headache. Not that anymore. That won’t be allowed anyhow.

In what appears to be the biggest crackdown on pharma industry and therefore, the healthcare sector, it appears that the Government has taken a decision against the sale (and, therefore, use) of several current medicines. Some of these include leading brand names such as Sardion, that won’t any longer be available in the market.

And hold your horse for that is not all.

It also appears that along with the banning of Saridon, there are 328 other medicines that have been labelled perfunctory and illegal going forward. Therefore, all are advised to watch out and act in accordance with the law.

If you happen to remember the events of the past, then it would occur that, as of March 2016, the government had actually put a stoppage on as many as 344 “Fixed-dose combinations”. This, has now, become a rather bigger list with as many as five new named being added to the existing list.

Therefore, in regards to the latest ruling by the health ministry, it is hereby confirmed that not only has a ban been imposed on the manufacturing of some 328 pharma drugs or FDCs but, there’s also been a ban imposed on the selling or retailing of the same. Any acts being executed against the government’s standing is tantamount to punishment enforced by the law.

But in order to take full cognizance of the current situation, one’s ought to go deeper than just the Saridon ban. If you happen to break down the numbers further, you’d realise that among the 328 FDC’s identified by the Government in the wake of its recent ruling, the combined effect reaches as many as 6000 brands, in totality.

In simple words, there are, at least, at this point in time, 6000 medicine brands that have got affected in lines with the latest ruling upheld by the Government. Drugs like Pandem, Gluconom, Taxim AZ stand under the ban advocated by the Government. Yet, on the other hand, there happen to be some medicines that have escaped the ban. These include- Phensedyl Cough Linctus, D-Cold Total, and Corex cough syrup.

In what also turns out as an interesting bit of development, the manufacturers of these medicines have immediately lodged protests in various high courts of the country. Visibly enraged by the sudden Government ruling, for now, it remains to be seen whether a decision can be overturned or reversed or not.

The Week

The current ruling is one whose umbilical cord is attached to the events that transpired back in March 2016. Yet, so far, no clarity or consensus has been reached between the upset and shaken manufacturers who are reeling under steps that have been, according to sources, taken in the right spirit by the Govt.

Back in December 2017, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had kindly directed the matter- definitive and impactful in equal measure- to be examined by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board.

In fact, the DATB even came out with its report under which it was stated that there was no therapeutic justification to the ingredients in all 328 FDCs and that these could be a risk to the people who consume the same. While in some cases, the board recommended some meds to be subjected to restricted manufacturing, there were also those that were ordered by the DATB to be immediately banned.

What is believed is that the famous All India Drug Action Network- a civil society group that works in the direction of safety and access to drugs in India- has welcomed and celebrated the ban as directed by the government. Therefore it’s not just that one’s getting needlessly cheery about the Saridon ban and the banning of other medicines; there seems to be a profound logic behind this move.

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