There are many medicines which we buy over the counter without consultation to treat common health problems like cough, cold, allergies, pain, etc. Some of these medicines have almost become household names because of their regular usage among family members and friends. So much so that they are hardly looked upon with any suspicion. However, how safe are these drugs really? According to a report released by The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, which regulates the quality, sale and distribution of drugs in India, it revealed some shocking facts. Medicines such as D Cold Total, Combiflam, Cetrizine, Paracetamol, Pantoprazole, Ofloxaci, Lomotin and various others, which are all commonly used across the country, were found to be substandard.

The report published under the Drug Alert section for March 2017 in The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization’s official website included various types of medicines, some which have huge annual sales, as high as 150 crores and more. The list features 60 common drugs which are all labelled “Not of Standard Quality Drugs” with the reason for failure in most cases mentioned as “Description and Particulate Matter” or “Disintegration”, which refers to time taken for the medicines to disintegrate or break down in the human body – an important parameter for routine assessment of pharmaceutical drugs. Other reasons included Assay, Dissolution, Physical Parameter, Misbranded, etc.

The list of sub-standard drugs included painkillers, medicines for anti-allergy, fever, cold, loose motion, constipation, as well as calcium and iron supplements, among others. Some of these medicines are manufactured by big brand names such as Cipla, Cadila, Sanofi, etc. While the release of this report comes as shocker to many, it also reinstates the fact that one should be cautious while purchasing drugs for various health problems.

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