Centre defends restricting sale of homeopathic drugs

Centre defends restricting sale of homeopathic drugs

Centre defends restricting sale of homeopathic drugs

The Centre has defended before the Supreme Court its decision to restrict sale of homeopathic preparations containing 12 per cent alcohol in a pack size not exceeding 30 ml to the public.

For hospital and dispensaries, it allowed sale of the medicine with same amount of alcohol content in 100 ml pack.

In an affidavit, the Health Ministry’s Central Drug Standards Control Organisations stated that the reasonable restriction on the manufacturer and sale of homeopathic medicine up to 30 ml pack was made in public interest through a notification issued on February 2, 1994.

It said that the public health was of paramount importance to the government and it could not afford to wait for any adverse instances in the health of the people for taking any step.

The government’s response came after a petition filed by Bengal Homeopathic Manufacturers, challenging the rule on the ground that it was discriminatory and violated its right to carry out its business.

Justifying its decision, the government said, “The recommendations for making the required amendment in the rule 106-B of the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940 were made by Justice Jagdish Chandra Committee that the medicinal preparations containing more than 12 per cent alcohol should be packed in smaller packages.”

Following the increased frequency of the misuse of alcoholic medicines and preparations in and around Delhi, the government of National Capital Territory had set up the committee to suggest ways to prevent such practices in future.

Among other suggestions, the committee had recommended that the alcoholic medicinal preparations containing more than 12 per cent (v/v) of alcohol should be packed in package of less than 30 ml.

Subsequently, Ayurvedic preparations, which contained alcohol more than 16 per cent were limited in the pack size of 30 ml. However, in case of Ayurvedic medicines, alcohol was not added but only self generated.

Asserting that Homeopathic medicines have undergone a sea change both in terms of quality and quantity, the government further submitted that continuing with outdated practices in the Homeopathic drug industry which prevented growth of the industry cannot be allowed to continue in view of all round technological advances and modernisation taking place all over the country.

The government further pointed out that the amendment in the rule was forwarded by Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), a statutory body, after examining objections and suggestions of retailers and manufacturers of Homeopathic medicines.