Consumers will no longer be able to buy more than one unit of codeine-based cough syrups in Uttar Pradesh, following orders issued by the food and drug administration department.
Codeine, a medical derivative of opium, is a prodrug used to treat pain, coughing and diarrhoea.
Almost all kinds of cough syrups contain codeine.
A.K. Jain, drug controller, said: “Though it has mild pain-relieving properties, it is a powerful drug and one can get addicted to it."
Citing provisions under rules 51 and 52 of the Uttar Pradesh Drug Rules, Jain has fixed the number of units a company depot and clearing and forwarding agents (C&F), a whole-seller and a retailer can store and sell to ensure that it is not misused.
As per the order, company depots and C&F agents can store any packing of codeine-based cough syrup, but sell only 500 units of the same.
Wholesellers, on the other hand, can store 1,000 units of the syrup, but sell not more 100 units of the formulation.
Retailers will be able to store not more than 100 units of the same and sell only one to a single customer.
The same order also regulates sale of high intensity painkillers like those based on compounds like tramadol, pentazocine and buprenorphine along with anti-depressants like alprazolam, clonazepam, nitrazepam, diazepam in all strengths and combinations.
As per the order, tramadol-based painkillers will be provided only on a medical prescription thought they can buy 20 tablets/capsules/ampoules of alprazolam and clonazepam.
Ten units of nitrezepam and pentazocine are allowed.
However, since anti-depressants belong to the Schedule-H of the drug manual in India, they cannot be bought over the counter which means that prescription is a must for them.
Also, not more than 10 tablets of buprenorphine-based pain killers can be bought by individuals.
The decision comes after the Union government’s decision to check the misuse of narcotics-based medicines in the country.