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Beware, combined drugs can be a harmful mix

Oct 16, 2007 08:49 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Combining two medicines for a more powerful effect is accepted medical practice. But some mixtures can be dangerous and it's these combinations that are flooding the Indian drug market. Called Fixed Dose Combinations or Irrational Drugs, many of these are sold over the counter under almost 80,000 brand names. “Two or more drugs combined are not synergistic,” says pharmacologist Dr Tripathi from VMMC. Two common Fixed Dose Combinations include mixing Paracetamol with anti-inflammatory drugs like Nimesulide or Ibuprofen. Combinations like these can have a potentially harmful fallout. The unnecessary exposure to another drug can lead to various side effects. Experts also worry about increased self-medication and because combinations are more costly, it leads to Increased financial burden and wastage of national resource. “We have their safety and efficacy but when they are combined, we don’t have data about their safety,” said Dr Tripathi In India only 14 FDCs are listed under the Essential Drugs List and 79 FDCs have been banned. But due to a lack of guidelines, many pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture irrational FDCs. “There are certain things that companies would do it is unfair to blame entire pharma industry but it would all individual,” says Joint MD, Panacea Biotec, Rajesh Jain. “FDCs are the highest revenue-generating drugs for pharma,” says Dr Tripathi. Such things occur under the very eyes of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). CNN-IBN contacted the DCGI, who refused to comment on this issue at this time. But the DGCI has recently issued a warning letter to pharmaceutical companies on this issue. “The Ministry of Health and DCGI have started a dialogue,” says Rajesh Jain. So until things improve, remember, as far as medicines are concerned, more is not merrier.