Last week, The Indian Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad has announced whistle blower policy to attract involvement of public to provide information on any kind of unlawful activity in the manufacture of drugs.
Replying to the debate on working of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in Rajya Sabha the Health Minister also apprised the members of Government’s intention to bring Drugs and Cosmetic Amendment Bill for creating Central Drug Authority. “This will pave the way for making the regulatory mechanism a robust one,” the Minister said.
Recently, in US, many people lost their sense of smell using Zicam nasal spray, a cold remedy they thought would be safer than other medicines because it was sold as natural/herbs/homeopathic. This initiative by Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is welcomed to stop spurious drugs and medicines.
ZICAM range of products (For Cold, Allergy, Cough, nasal comfort) are from Matrixx Initiatives Inc. from North America- A NASDAQ, USA listed company. There are 19 ZICAM preparations out of which 2 have been withdrawn from the market after USFDA warning.
USFDA warning itself spells that obviously the ZICAM products were not Spurious. If any FDA find that a particular preparation, for which product permission is granted, has serious side effects- FDA can stop the manufacturer from manufacturing the same or may grant continuation of production with Precautionary warnings on the product label. By using “Spurious Drugs” we are giving wrong signals to people concerned. There have been many Allopathic preparations and Vaccines that are withdrawn from the US market as and when ill effects of the same were found to be serious by FDA. And if a single Homoeopathic drug is withdrawn from the market why there should be a big cry about it in the name of threat to Homoeopathic World itself.
If the side effects of any drug ( consistently in many patients or from many practitioners from many different places) come to the knowledge of consumer, professionals, researcher or FDA, it is duty of an individual to bring this to the attention of a Doctor, Company and/or FDA. FDA in turn may take appropriate steps after due investigations and audit. All ZICAM products are OTC (Over The Counter) and not all of them are Homoeopathic preparations.
Spurious drug definition varies from country to country. Recent example is WHO definition amendment of Spurious Drugs to which Indian Government and Indian Pharmaceutical Industry has strongly objected. It would be injustice to call ZICAM as Spurious Drug. To say that all OTC Homoeopathic products in USA are dangerous would also be wrong.
This email response and my personal views may not be misinterpreted as a support to ZICAM manufacturer or any other manufacturers of Homoeopathy. I do agree with the valid points raised by Dr. Anil Singhal in his Blog with effect to our System and the Watch Dog’s role.
I appreciate Dr. Singhal to have dwelled on few of the sensitive issues pertaining to the System and practices prevailing in his Blog. I would like to add one more issue to it and that is Hobby Practitioners of Homoeopathy in India and QUACK (Unregistered) Homoeopaths in our country. All in all we have many headed monster to be tackled in our country. Lets take one by one for the betterment of our Society.