The Health Ministry, Government of India, vide a gazetted notification, dated 10th March 2016, has banned with immediate effect, the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of around 344 Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs and the news is that a lot many of other drugs are also being lined up, to be banned by the government in the near future. It should be noted here that the Honourable Delhi High Court has stayed the above-mentioned government notification, thereby, providing an interim relief to the affected companies who were involved in manufacturing, sale, and distribution of those drugs. Now, it’s for the court to decide whether the ban on the FDC drugs is justifiable or not, in the present case. However, in this blog, I would like to touch upon another important issue i.e. whether the responsible authorities have done justice or not, by simply levying a ban on ‘subsequent’ manufacturing, sale and distribution of the FDC drugs?
Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs – Before going on to the justice part, let us understand what does Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs actually mean. In simple terms, FDC means that two or more drugs are combined (mixed), in a fixed ratio, and the resultant is the single drug which is termed as FDC drug.
Reason for banning the FDC drugs – The reason laid down by the government in the official gazette, behind banning the FDC drugs is quite shocking, as well as, alarming, at the same time. The reason behind banning the FDC drugs is that these drug combinations pose a risk to human beings and that there are safer alternatives available in the market. The government further stated that it is satisfied with the observations and recommendations of the expert committee appointed for this purpose and that it is necessary and expedient in the public interest to regulate, by way of a prohibition of manufacture for sale, sale, and distribution for human use of the said drugs in the country.
Is this justice at all – Now, the question that arises is whether the responsible authorities have done justice by simply levying a ban on ‘subsequent’ manufacturing, sale and distribution of the FDC drugs? If the government has completely relied upon the recommendations of the expert committee, then what about the harm done till date by consumption of these drugs on the life of humans? Are we even considerate about the life of innocent people? What about compensating for the hard earned money that people have spent in consuming these drugs, which as per government are ‘useless and harmful’ to humans. Why no penalty in monetary terms has been levied on these companies? Can any sane person take this as anywhere near to justice, considering the risk of the life of a common man who has relied upon and consumed these drugs for decades? When these companies can charge exorbitant prices, which at times go even more than 100 times of the actual cost of manufacturing these drugs, than why such a soft corner and lenient approach is being adopted towards them, even when the government has reason to believe that the drugs manufactured and sold by these companies have endangered the life of innocent people?
Whether, simply by prohibiting the future actions, it could be said that justice has been achieved against the damage that has happened in the past, especially in cases where human life is at stake? Say for example, could we expect any sound judge to pass a judgement against a serial killer, that the killer should henceforth stop killing innocent people (without punishing the killer for the past killings)? Similarly, in the present case, if at all any harm is done in the past then it could not be overlooked. There has to be an enquiry against all those who were involved, including the government officials, licensing authorities, respective companies, etcetera and they should get the punishment they deserve for this kind of intolerable and unforgivable act. In absence of which, it will be equivalent to conveying a message to the society that people with power and money can do anything they wish to, and, at the same time, also get away with it.
I have no hesitation in saying that the intensity of the reason that the government has laid down, behind banning the FDC drugs is quite severe. However, the action taken against those findings is simply not enough. The responsible authorities have once again missed out on an opportunity to convey a serious message to the society, that for us the life of the living beings is extremely important and whoever will try to play with it should be ready to bear severe consequences.
I still hope that banning is only the first step and the government is going to take serious actions against all those who are involved in such cases, especially wherein human life is at stake. Until the time some harsh actions are taken against the people involved in such cases, our life will continue to be the most unworthy thing, in the eyes of those, for whom money is the sole priority and we should be ready to play a prey in their hands for their personal benefits and agenda.
I wish that the Almighty give good sense to each one of us.
God bless you all!