The fate of some marquee brands is uncertain as the government phases out codeine-based cough formulations and a handful of fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs. Some of these brands have been declining anyway, analysis shows.
Industry insiders say that pharma companies working with codeine-based cough formulations are implementing steps to prevent misuse. Codeine is a by-product of opium, which is processed in India under strict terms. In July, the government for the first time allowed a private company, Bajaj Healthcare, to process opium to extract alkaloids that are used to make painkillers, cough syrups, and even cancer drugs. Two government factories in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh process around 800 tonnes per annum of opium gum to extract alkaloids.