In a major development to tackle the menace of rampant misuse of medical intoxicants in the country particularly in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and the adjoining areas, the Central government has recently suspended the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of Dextroprophyphene and its formulations in the country under Section 26-A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.
Highly placed sources told this citizen journalist that the Health Ministry was getting reports from various states about the misuse of the drug. The decision taken in public interest says that Govt. is satisfied that the use of the drug for human is likely to involve risk for human beings and whereas safe alternatives to the drugs are available, hence the regulation is necessary by the way of suspension of manufacturing, sale and distribution of dextroprophyphene.
The drug dextroprophyphene belonging to the non-steroidal anti inflamatory/analgesics category- a schedule H drug is required to be dispensed on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner as per the statutory provisions but was frequently abused for intoxication purposes by unscrupulous elements.
Since the product in single or fixed dose combination is formulated and sold in capsule or tablet dosage form, it becomes very easy for the person to transfer the product from one palace to other even to the jails. Rampant abuse of these medicines/ therapeutic agents resulted in the increase in the production and distribution thereof.
The products containing dextropropoxyphene are available in the market under various trade/brand names i.e. Proxyvon, Spasmo-proxyvon, Parvon, Parvon Spas etc. were confiscated in huge quantities by the police as well as drugs control department from various outlets including illegal godowns, jails, vehicles during transit, transporters, stocked in clandestine manner for illicit use for intoxication resulting in the increase in the crime as well as mortality.
In addition to the said drug other drugs required to be similarly prohibited are Codeine and Diphenoxylate which are also abused in the area openly and are matter of great concern for the police and health officials.
The State Drug Controllers in Haryana, Panjab and Himachal Pardesh have issued directives to their field officers to ensure compliance to the said notification issued by the Central Government. All the chemist associations as well as drug manufacturers' associations have also been directed to intimate their members and comply with these directives and in case of non-compliances legal action under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act will be warranted.
On one side the drug regulators are happy and have appreciated the step taken by the government as it will help them to tackle the issue of alarming rise in cases of sale of such schedule H drugs without prescription for addiction/intoxication purposes consequently reducing the crime/mortality. On the other hand the drug manufacturers having roaring sale/business of such white poisons are disturbed due to reduction in their sales/business.
Dr G.L. Singal, Haryana's State Drug Controller who has launched crusade against the medical intoxication said that the step taken by the government of India will strengthen their campaign against the abuse of Schedule H medicines in the State and further requested the Central Government for similar action on the remaining drugs i.e. Codeine and diphenoxylate in the larger public interest.
It may be recalled that more than 150 licenses have been canceled and suspended in the state subsequent to detection of illicit sale/purchase of such medicines apart from registration of more than 20 cases under the provisions of NDPS Act 1985. Even the issue was raised in the State Assembly wherein the details of the action taken by the department was appreciated.