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Drug ban notice

New Delhi, Jan. 8 (PTI): Delhi High Court today sought replies from the Centre and three pharmaceutical companies within one week, on why ban on two important drugs considered unsafe for human beings was deferred till August.

“The respondents would file their affidavit giving details by January 18 and ensure that these were brought on record by the next date,” so that the matter could be put up for final hearing, a bench of acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice B.D. Ahmed said.

The direction was issued during the hearing of a public interest litigation seeking immediate ban on the drugs — astemozole and terfinadine — which the government has also considered unsafe for human beings, following a world-wide ban on them.

Government counsel rajiv shakhdhar submitted that a decision has already been taken to ban these medicines and the time till august was given to phase them out from market.

The court on dec 20 had issued notices to the centre, the drug controller of india and pharmaceutical companies Ä panacea biotech, dr reddy's laboratories and ranbaxy india Ä on a pil seeking immediate ban on these drugs.

The union health ministry's october 29 notification said that the use of the drug formulations containing “astemizole and terfinadine are likely to involve certain risks... And the government is satisfied that it is necessary and expedient to prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of these medicines in public interest.”

But it said that the prohibitary order would be made effective only from august one next. More pti ssn skt 01081754 d

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