Narcotics Act amendment to enable return of psychotropics

Mumbai, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 06:38am hrs
The apprehension that around 4,000 psychotropic drug brands may disappear from the market completely is now unwarranted as the Centre has decided to amend the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act). The amendment is expected to facilitate the easy sale of these drugs.

It is estimated that manufactures of these drugs have suffered a loss of approximately Rs 300 crore during the one month when their supplies were curtailed. In a high-powered meeting in the Capital on February 18, a final draft was approved by Mala Srivastava, joint secretary - finance, ministry of finance, senior officials representing the Narcotic Control Bureau, the drugs controller general and trade representatives.

Following this, the All India Association of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), the apex body of chemists in the country, in its notification on February 19 has asked its 5.5 lakh retail chemists and direct wholesalers to buy these drugs from manufacturers.

As per the modifications in the NDPS Act, retailers are not required to go through the lengthy processes since the government has exempted the provisions of consignment note under Form No. 6. This means that the retailers will now only have to preserve the invoice and cash memo for each transaction.

Leading pharmaceutical firms like Ranbaxy, Sun Pharma, Cipla and Zydus Cadila have a basket of drugs in this category.

Over 4,000 brands of drugs that included Fortwin, Chericof, Trika, Alpax and Librium, used for treating psychiatric disorders and cancer went off the shelves for a short while on account of the boycott.

These drugs fall under the narcotics and psychotropic drugs category and contribute almost Rs 1,500 crore to the annual turnover of the pharmaceuticals industry. A small percentage of our sales comes from these drugs. But now with the revised order of the AIOCD, the sales of these products have once again started, said Unichem Laboratories spokesperson.