Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 Current Affairs - 2020

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GoI halts online drug sales

The Government of India has halted online sales of drugs as it is working on framing rules to regulate the sector. This has hit the pharmacy sector greatly.

Delhi High Court’s Order

The order of sale prohibition was initiated by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) V.G.Somani. The order has referred to the Delhi High Court judgement pronounced in response to the case filed by Dermatologist Dr Zaheer Ahmed. Delhi High Court order says that the sales of medicines online are in violation of Drugs and Cosmetics act. Therefore, GoI is framing strict guidelines for E-pharmacies.

E-Pharmacy rules

The E-Pharmacy rules are still at draft stage. The draft includes registration of e-pharmacies, protection of privacy of customers, measures to counterfeit unauthorized sales, drugs and expired products. It also includes periodic inspection as referred by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, verification of registered pharmacists, details of patients and drugs on E-pharmacy portal.

E-Pharmacies claim that their business comply to Information Technology Act, 2000.

Current Market Scenario of E-pharmacy in India

In the present day, retail stores contribute to 99% of medicines sales with E-pharmacy contributing to only 1% of total medicine sales. In February 2019, the DPIIT (Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) published Draft National E-commerce policy. It includes E-pharmacy guidelines as well. As the industry has a billion-dollar potential, it is important to frame strict guidelines.

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Health Ministry bans Colistin in Animal Food Industry

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has banned manufacture, sale and distribution of antibiotic, Colistin as well as its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements. The ban is announced in a bid to preserve drug’s efficacy in humans.

What is Colistin?

It is a valuable, last-resort antibiotic that saves lives in critical care units. It is effective against most Gram-negative bacilli. It is also known as polymyxin E.

It is an antibiotic for therapeutic purpose in veterinary but it is highly misused in poultry industry as a growth promoter for prophylactic purpose. Thus one of reason for antibiotic resistance in India is due to unwanted use of Colistin in poultry industry.

Issue: In recent years, medical professionals have been alarmed by number of patients who have exhibited resistance to this drug. In late 2018 researchers from Apollo Cancer Hospital, Chennai claimed that samples of raw food lifted from across Chennai had tested positive for colistin-resistant bacteria.

Key Highlights about Colistin Ban

The ban has been imposed under provisions of section 26A of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Reason: As per the notification issued by Centre in regard of ban, it was brought to notice of Central government that use of drug Colistin and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements is likely to involve risk to human beings thus following which Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), government’s top advisory body on technical matters related to drugs in India considered the matter and recommended prohibiting Colistin.

Health Ministry also directed that manufacturers of colistin and its formulations (as it is also used to treat humans) shall affix a label on container of drug reading: Not to be used in food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements: on package, insert and promotional literature.

Significance: The move is a massive victory for movement against anti-microbial resistance. As per experts, the ban would ensure that colistin does not enter food people eat, and thus people don’t develop resistance to the antibiotic.

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