Technological innovations and fruits of human labour have contributed immensely towards the advancement in healthcare and medicine. Numerous medicines have been developed to treat the incurable diseases. With the advent of modern and efficient pharmaceuticals, human life has revolutionized as they not only extend the span of life but also improve its quality while getting rid of the problems faced by the body.

Indian market

With the awareness and better access to medical facilities, the Indian market has seen an elevation in the demand of pharmaceutical products. With the diversity of products ranging from locally manufactured medications to those imported, the pharmaceutical industry has grown by leaps and bounds. India has now become one of the largest consumers of antibiotics in the world.

Monitoring legally

The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (hereinafter referred to as “Act”) was enforced for regulating the administration and commercialization of drugs and medical devices. The Act Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (hereinafter referred to as “CDSCO”) monitors and controls the distribution of medical products. All pharmaceutical products prevalent in the Indian markets are required to obtain approval from the CDSCO.

Controlling the sale

Over the counter drugs are medicines that may be sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional, however prescription drugs, which may be sold only to consumers possessing a valid prescription.

In order to control the sale over the counter drugs, a public interest litigation has been filed at the High Court of Bombay following the investigations which brought into light, the fact that many drugs with restricted use were freely available through over the counter medium.

A public interest litigation is a litigation filed by an individual or group of people in the Supreme Court of India and High Courts of India in furtherance to fulfilment of the objective of greater public interest. For the purpose of admission of such request it is not necessary that only a victim may file such an application. It helps advance the cause of human rights and equality, or raise issues of broad public concern.

Considering the reckless and careless use of sale over the counter of medications even with respect to those with limited and prescriptive use, the aforesaid petition has been filed. It aims to prohibit the easy availability of drugs with greater impact and post consumption consequences/ side effects in the absence of a prescription from a recognized medical officer, thereby preventing their misuse on account of less knowledge of the consumers or those advising the consumers.