Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Govt working on policy to allow OTC drugs sale on retail outlets

  • Govt’s advisory board for pharmaceutical policy to consider allowing sale of certain OTC medicines at retail outlets
  • Last month, a panel had recommended that the government should define OTC drugs in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules

NEW DELHI : The government’s top advisory board for pharmaceutical policy will soon consider allowing sale of certain over-the-counter (OTC) medicines at retail outlets, a senior government official said.

Last month, the Drug Consultative Committee (DCC) recommended that the government should define OTC drugs in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, as well as make regulations on their distribution, sale and advertisements.

“The Sub-Committee (of DCC) is of the opinion that there is an urgent need for defining the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and to lay down specific provisions for the regulation of OTC drugs in the country," as per the minutes of the meeting.

The consultative panel had also suggested that the government create two lists of over-the-counter drugs, based on evidence of their safety, availability, non-habit forming nature, among other factors.

Now, the proposal will move to the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), the government’s highest advisory board on pharmaceutical matters, and following its approval, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will take a final call, the official said.

“After the DCC’s approval for the OTC policy, it now goes to DTAB. So there will be a panel looking at it. It’s all work in progress right now," the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Currently, while India has a list of drugs which need to be sold only with a doctor’s prescription, there is no list for medicines that can be sold without it despite the fact that commonly used medicines for cough, cold and contraceptives are sold over the counter.

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