India’s drug controller general has locked legal horns with small and medium pharmaceutical makers over the so-called combination drugs.
Some 3,000 such combo brands, which essentially use two or more previously approved drugs to create one multi-purpose drug, are sold in India. Because licences for combo drugs were issued by states based on those drugs being individually approved, the drug controller is rightly trying to curb such medicines as neither their safety nor efficacy, as a combo drug, has been tested or proven. While a lot of money will be spent on this battle, we wish drug controller M. Venkateswarlu and the drug lobby, which claims the drugs do work, would invest some of their energies on educating consumers about combo drugs. Millions of Indians are spending about Rs4,000 crore each year buying and using these drugs. They deserve to know if they are wasting their money and putting their health at risk.