Drug manufacturers in the country have secured a stay from the Madras High Court over immediate withdrawal of two banned drugs — pediatric doses of pain reliever nimesulide and anti-cold medicine phenylpropanolamine — from the domestic market.
The ban on manufacturing the drugs will continue. The stay will be in effect until March 31, the next date of hearing.
Despite the HC stay, the health ministry has — through print advertisements — demanded immediate withdrawal of these two medicines from drug retail shelves.
The HC intervention happened after Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industries moved a petition challenging the government decision for immediate withdrawal of medicines that have been in the market for 40 years.
Drug traders said there were over 1,000 brands of pain relief drug that would have to be removed from the shelves due to the ban. The size of the market for the banned drugs is not significant. An IDMA functionary said the association was only seeking more time to liquidate the stocks of medicines that had been in the market for a long period. “We have been granted two weeks to liquidate the stocks. Normally, it takes 45-60 days and we hope to secure another extension,” he said.
In a notification issued on February 10, the ministry said pediatric use of nimesulide and the use of medicines such as Cisapride, PPA, human placental extract based drugs, Sibutramine had been banned with immediate effect, as all these medicines were found to be having harmful side effects.
Almost all these medicines are either banned or highly restricted in most developed markets with strict drug regulatory system in place. Recently, the ministry announced the ban of two more medicines — gatifloxacine and tegaserod.