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Day 21: Messed up Health care in India -Important


Picture Courtesy: Google Images 
This week's news article on "The Hindu" is alarming. It talks about the splurge of unapproved combination drugs available in India. It is horrifying to see that among the three therapeutic conditions - analgesia, depression and psychosis, there are a huge number of unapproved fixed dose combination drugs, also called FDC. This means, there are two drugs that are combined (in a specific or fixed ratio) to form a single-dose drug. Now, these combinations will have to be tested - both clinically run to test its safety and efficacy and also approved by the authorities. The authority to approve is CDSCO - Central Drugs Standard Control Organization.

What makes it frightening is the fact, there are many drugs which are used in this combination form which are not even approved to be sold internationally. Why then use it in India? Pharma companies make a lot of money (which is shown in this report) and of course, one can smell chicanery from them even from afar. Pharmaceutical companies use unscrupulous means to make sure these are in the market even before approval. The sales figures you see quoted will prove that to you. As for these FDC drugs, if they are used in a wrong combination dose, they can be even fatal. Please read this article here. This article elaborates the details of this empirical study. This is one of the first empirical study conducted in India. I sometimes wonder, if that is all people value about other lives. 

I am also glad that at least, India does not allow advertisements for prescription drugs. In a country like the US (NZ is the only other place where it is allowed), where there are many regulations and the FDA keeps tab on these, it is still manipulated by the advertisers. In fact, there is a huge difference in how the message is framed. It also creates a huge health disparity by only providing the message for a specific group of people. I am at least thankful that India does not allow advertising to consumers (DTC- direct-to-consumers). Imagine the state of India, if there is going to be DTC ads along with these unapproved products! 

I wonder, how the objectives of these pharmaceutical companies shape their agenda and that in turn, helps them frame their message. I wish, this article gets maximum shares and the information is circulated. 
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