R Chandrashekar, Deputy Drug Controller (India), MoH&FW, Govt of India, said that the government will soon announce regulatory guidelines in order to control the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs market.
“The consultative committee will give its recommendations to the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, which will be submitted to the government to amend the rules of OTC regulations. The entire process can take 1-2 years to finalise,” said Chandrashekhar. He was speaking at a FICCI webinar on ‘Growing Importance and Relevance of Selfcare in New Normal’, organised during the ongoing ‘Virtual Healthcare & Hygiene Expo (VHHE) 2020’.
Chandrashekar added that it is important to educate the consumers before promoting OTC drugs. “Globally, there is information available for each OTC drug, but in India, we don’t have any law which mandates some sort of patient information with every OTC drug,” he said.
He said that it is imperative to first create awareness amongst the consumers to empower them to take an informed decision. “Once the OTC regulations come into place, then the information will be available for OTC drugs for the patients,” Chandrashekar added.
He further said that the recommendations also highlight the need for creating a platform to spread information about OTC drugs by setting up a dedicated helpline number and QR code scan.
Rahul Chauhan, Chair, FICCI OTC Taskforce and Director, Regulatory & Medical Affairs, Reckitt Benckiser said, “From the consumers’ point of view, health and hygiene have emerged as an important area to focus and has taken a centre stage in one’s life. People are eager to get more and more credible information about self-care.”
Dr KK Aggarwal, President, CMAAO said that mortality in COVID is not a rule but an exception. A proper home and community care can reduce the pressure on existing medical infrastructure including hospitals.
Highlighting the role of e-pharmacy, Vikas Chauhan, Co-Founder, 1mg said that digital space has played a very important role for the consumers to access essential services like medicines during these times.
Nitin G, Product Specialist, Agilent Technologies India said that artificial intelligence is facilitating consumers to gather knowledge as people today want to learn, understand, and discuss what they are consuming.
Dr Avula Laxmaiah, Scientist G & Head, DPHN, ICMR- National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and Rajat Banerji, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Amway India, also shared their perspective on the role of nutrition and supplements in controlling the virus.