Government ban on over 300 drug combinations in India

March 21, 2016: The Health Ministry in India has taken a stand and issued a circular to ban 340 fixed drug combinations. Almost all of these combinations have not been cleared by the government, and have yet been in wide circulation in the country. In order to prevent any further misuse and/ or adverse drug reactions including addiction liabilities, these drug combinations stand banned with immediate effect.

The practice of using combination therapy is often followed in conditions including various types of cancers, diabetes, and malaria. However, there is always a rationale behind a prescribed dosage and combination. In order to increase drug compliance, it has often become a common practice to irrationally combine two or more drugs, which may not always prove to be beneficial. In India, the state laws and policymakers often allow pharmaceutical firms to concoct a drug combination, while giving them the flexibility to retroactively establish its efficacy. Needless to mention, seldom is the study data submitted to the authorities.

Addressing these concerns, the Indian Government set up a committee in 2014 to evaluate, analyze and justify the use of over 6000 drug combinations prescribed in the country. The primary mode of analysis was to classify these formulations into three categories; rational, irrational, and additional data required. This simple methodology successfully eliminated 340 drug combinations, which will be banned instantly, after a notice is issued by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

Indian Railways to promote Medical Tourism in the country

August 18, 2015: After tasting success in the realm of clinical trials, India, in recent times has created a big market for medical tourism. It is postulated that country’s medical tourism sector will soar to a $2 billion market by 2015, after a steep annual growth rate of 25%. The reasons for this industry to blossom are manifold. Availability of the most sophisticated medical equipment, easy access to the country by means of visa on arrival, and surgeries and medical procedures conducted at a fraction of costs as compared to the patient’s parent countries are some highlights which draw people to India. Currently, the United States, Europe and Africa are countries that look up to India for subsidized treatment, in which the quality of care is not compromised.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has devised an interesting concept, by which it will facilitate medical tourism for Indians in the country, especially from the north east frontiers of Kolkata, Guwahati, etc, who often travel to the South of India for medical procedures. In addition, the IRCTC will help transport patients and their relatives from Bangladesh to various centers in India, to avail treatment.

As an initial move, IRCTC will focus on the senior citizens and assist them in making travel reservations, catering to their medical and special needs during travel, obtain appointments with doctors, and help them with accommodation if required, before and after the procedure. This facility will not only be extended to the patients, but also to the accompanying relatives or friends, or to people who are not very savvy with coordinating and arranging travel.