Just a few weeks after the Drug Controller of India (DCI) had suspended Deanxit-Flupentixol and Melitracen Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) from being sold in India, it is back on the shelves of your neighborhood chemist!
Stunned by the government’s act of good governance, two companies which manufacture the above FDC, had filed an appeal in the Karnataka High Court. On Aug 14th, the court quashed the order of the health ministry on the grounds that a phase-IV trial of the combination was in the process of being finalized. Legal parlance aside what this means is that companies are free to carry on marketing an untested drug until it is tested!!
Chemists are back selling the pills, Physicians happy to prescribe them and ignorant patients blissfully popping them. Our DCI has satisfied the parliamentary committee’s recommendations in suspending the drug and they are ‘helpless’ now as the court has overturned the ban.
Just a few weeks back, before the ban had been overturned, a 70 year old man came to my clinic. He was perturbed that Deanxit was no longer available. He had been taking it for 15 years (!), without any doctor’s advice, as it kept him calm. (Our country protects the uninformed lay patient’s right to get an untested, unproven prescription only drug from the neighborhood chemist-for 15 years!). The retired bureaucrat who now lives in the US, (where Deanxit is NOT available) had come on his annual visit to India and was seeking a solution to the problem of not being able to get his annual 30 strips of his pink pill! I tried talking about an assessment of his problems but he was more interested in a prescription of a substitute than in discussing the potential side effects of any antipsychotic.
I think I should give him the good news. Deanxit is back!