The drugs control department of New Delhi has directed chemists not to sell hydroxychloroquinolones (HCQS), chloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and related products to anyone without the prescription of a registered medical practitioner having doctorate of medicine (MD) in general medicine and a pulmonologist to restrain panic buying of these medicines for prophylactic use.
People are thronging medical stores to buy these drugs for prophylaxis of coronavirus infection following the recommendation of National Task Force for COVID-19 constituted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
On March 23, the task force suggested use of hydroxychloroquine for preventive treatment of asymptomatic healthcare workers and individuals in close contact of coronavirus patients. The drug may be also used in case of asymptomatic household contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients, it said.
To avoid the situation of panic buying of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir etc in Delhi, drugs controlling authority on March 24, 2020 issued advisory to Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association (RDCA), all chemist associations of Delhi to sell these medicines to those having prescription from MD in general medicine or pulmonologist.
Any deviation in this regard by any of the chemists/druggists will be viewed seriously and stringent action as per Drugs and Cosmetics Rules will be initiated against them, said AK Nasa, drugs controlling authority.
Nasa has also written to deputy drugs controller, assistant drug controller, drugs inspectors of drugs control department, Delhi with the direction to strictly monitor the sale of above drugs.
Taking a clue from Delhi drugs controlling authority’s initiative, Kailash Tandale, president of Maharashtra Registered Pharmacist Association demanded similar action from food and drugs administration, Maharashtra where 112 coronavirus cases have been reported.
Tandale said in order to curb panic buying of hydroxychloroquinolones (HCQS), chloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and related products in Maharashtra, FDA should come out with advisory to chemists in the state asking them not to sell these drugs to any consumer without the prescription of a registered doctor with MD in general medicine and a pulmonologist.