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US ban on Ranbaxy drugs forces patients to ask for alternatives

Saturday, 25 January 2014 - 7:44am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) on Thursday banned Ranbaxy’s India-based plants from manufacturing and distributing active pharmaceutical ingredients. The move has renewed fears among the Indian medical fraternity about prescribing Ranbaxy drugs, especially after patients expressed their lack of confidence in the pharma company. 

Jaslok Hospital on Peddar Road boycotted Ranbaxy drugs nine months ago.

Sunil Khilnani, 58, has been suffering from high cholesterol and blood pressure. He has been on Ranbaxy hypolipidemic drugs which are cholesterol-reducing agents for the past few years. After the USFDA’s decision, the Malad resident asked the doctor to change the drugs. “After I expressed my apprehension, my doctor put me on drugs of another reputed pharma company,” Khilnani told dna

Dr Jamshed Dalal, senior cardiologist at the privately-run Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said nearly 10 per cent of his patients, who were on cardiovascular drugs, asked for a change in brand after the USFDA-Ranbaxy controversy broke out. “After reports started pouring in, the patients preferred to change the brand to be on the safer side. We are hesitant to prescribe a new brand of drugs to patients. The medical fraternity needs specific guidelines from the Indian government to take an informed decision given the gravity of the issue,” he said.

Ranbaxy has major presence in Indian and international markets in relation to cardiovascular, pain management, anti-infectives, gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermatology, orthopaedic and urology drugs. 

Jaslok Hospital has banned the sale of Ranbaxy drugs in the hospital pharmacy. “We have decided not to include the drugs in our pharmacy till we are cent per cent sure of their quality control mechanisms. Our board of trustees have decided against using Ranbaxy drugs in the hospital. It is not affecting patients in any way as alternative brands are available,” said Dr Tarang Gianchandani, CEO, Jaslok Hospital. 

In India, there have been several incidents of drugs turning out to be substandard after their sampling was done in laboratories.

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