Date expired medicines
ISIS sells date expired medication in Iraq causing death of 4 children and an old man on September 13, 2016. [Representational image]Reuters

UPDATE: The Delhi High Court has adjouned the hearing of the pleas of 30 pharma companies till March 28, 2016. The interim relief to the companies will continue till the next scheduled hearing.

The bench headed by RS Endlaw has directed the government to provide the experts committee report, which recommended the ban on combination drugs to all the pharma companies and petitioners.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Delhi High Court would hear the plea of nearly 30 pharma companies, including Pfizer, Abbott India, Glenmark, Procter & Gamble and Cipla, Monday on the ban on fixed-dose combinations (FDC) or combination drugs imposed by the government.

The union health ministry issued a notification March 10, banning various combination drugs. The move came after examination by an expert committee, which said FDCs could pose threat to human lives. The committee had submitted its recommendations to the central government on the prohibition of manufacture, sale and distribution of such drugs.

The Centre has ordered a ban on the manufacture, sale and distribution of such drugs under Section 26(A) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the notification said.

Various popular brands, including Corex, Phensedyl, Vicks Action 500 Extra and D-Cold, were banned following the government order.

The pharma companies, however, approached the Delhi High Court, challenging the government order.

The Delhi High Court ordered a stay on the ban on FDCs and has scheduled the hearing Monday.

The Delhi High Court had questioned the government on the sudden imposition of ban on combination drugs that have been in the market for the last 20 years.

Various pharma companies and chemist associations have also threatened to go on strike if the ban on combination drugs is not revoked.

An Abbott India spokesperson reportedly said the company was not pre-informed about the ban by the government.

The Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists have sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the FDC ban issue and have threatened to go on strike for 30 days due to the ban.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Biocon, said the government cannot suddenly impose the ban on drugs, which were available in the market for a long time.

The Indian pharma sector will face an immediate loss of Rs 1,000 crore. The annual impact of the ban, according to AIOCD Pharmasofttech AWACS — a pharmaceutical market research firm, is estimated to be Rs 3,049 crore, affecting 3 percent of the retail pharma market.

Till March 28,2016. The interim relief to the companies will continue till the next scheduled hearing.

The bench headed by  RS Endlaw has directed the government to provide the experts committee report which recommended the ban on combination drugs to all the pharma companies and petitioners.

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