Sales of drugs for chronic ailments has increased since demonetisation, as patients tend to stock up medicines by exchanging old notes at pharmacies.Wikimedia commons

The pharma sector in India could witness an immediate loss of Rs 1,000 crore due to the government ban on combination drugs that include cough syrups, anti-diabetic medicines and flu treatments, The Times of India reported.

The annual impact of the ban, according to AIOCD Pharmasofttech AWACS â€” a pharmaceutical market research firm, is estimated to be Rs 3,049 crore, affecting 3 percent of the retail pharma market.

The agency said Abbott Healthcare, Pfizer Limited and Macleods Pharma could be the major losers due to the government ban.

It said Abbott may take a hit of Rs 473 crore, Pfizer of Rs 366 crore and Macleods Pharma of Rs 338 crore, as a result of the ban on Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs) drugs by the government.

Mankind, Glenmark and Alkem Laboratories are some other pharma companies which will be worst hit by the ban, according to AIOCD AWACS.

The drug companies have recalled the banned products from stockists, retailers after the government in a notification dated March 10, directed a ban on various FDCs.

Pfizer, Abbott India, Procter & Gamble and Macleods Pharma have already approached the Delhi High Court challenging the government ban on FDCs.

The high court has reportedly ordered a stay on the ban on popular cough syrups Corex, Phensedyl after the drug makers filed separate petitions. The Delhi High Court has scheduled a hearing for March 21.

The drug companies said the ban has taken them by surprise as they were not informed and consulted by the government before issuing the notification March 10.

The government notification issued March 10 by Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary KL Sharma said various combination drugs, after examination by an expert committee, were found to be risking the lives of humans. 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.

A combination drug includes two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients combined in a single-dosage form, manufactured and distributed in fixed doses.

[1 lakh = 100,000|1 crore = 10 million|100 crore = 1 billion]