Govt to allow sale of some drugs sans prescription – ET HealthWorld

India will soon allow the sale of certain drugs without the requirement of a prescription, as part of a new over-the-counter (OTC) policy for drugs. The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), the government’s top advisory body on drugs, has approved the new policy and a draft notification will soon be issued by the health ministry, a senior government official said.

The DTAB has approved a list of OTC drugs which includes medicines like antifungal infections, analgesics (pain killers), cough syrups, decongestants, laxatives, antiseptics and medicines for gum infections.

“The aim is to reduce treatment cost and also promote self-care without compromising safety,” added the official. Unlike other countries like the US, UK or China, India does not have a policy framework to support and regulate distribution, marketing and consumption of OTC drugs.

This is despite the fact that commonly used medicines for cough and cold as well as contraceptives are sold over the counter. Neither the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 nor the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945 (D&C) defines OTC medicines. Officials told ET that the list of over-the-counter drugs has been shortlisted, based on evidence of their safety, availability, and non-habit forming nature.

Once the final notification comes into effect, pharmacists will be able to dispense drugs for minor conditions without a doctor’s prescription.

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