The government is set to expand the basket of over the-counter (OTC) medicines by adding around 100 new drugs which are currently sold on prescription in an attempt to make such medication more accessible and reduce irrational application or misuse of high risk drugs, especially antibiotics.
“We are planning to introduce a separate schedule for OTC drugs. This will include commonly used drugs which are of low risk and have been in use for a long term with proven efficacy. Besides, we are also considering such medicines available over the counter in other developed international markets,” drugs controller general of India (DCGI) G N Singh told.
Drugs likely to get off prescription will initially include those commonly used for cold, cough and analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Many of these medicines are already sold illegally as OTC. In the process, in the absence of clear regulation, many high-end antibiotics and critical medicines also get pushed by chemists without prescriptions.
This leads to concerns about misuse of medicines.