Hyderabad: A total of 14 steroid-based creams and ointments have been adjudged not to be sold without a prescription by the Director General of India, according to a notification by the Ministry of Health. Fairness creams that have steroids can no longer be sold over-the-counter by chemists. The fairness creams which contain chemicals like beclomethasone, betamethasone, desonide and desoximethasone, can now be bought only with a prescription.
Other steroids too that are used to treat skin infections, fungal infections and other skin problems will no longer be available over-the-counter. These fourteen steroid-based creams are now under schedule H category, and amendments have been made to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. Over-the-counter sale of these creams is banned, according to the notification issued by the government.
The notification states that normal face cleaners and moisturisers which do not have topical preparations can be sold over-the-counter. The Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists raised concerns over the misuse and abuse of steroid-based creams, which were leading to resistance in the treatment of fungal infections. These issues were raised on World Skin Day and the government was asked why they haven’t taken any action against the over-the-counter sale of these creams. According to a 2016 study, 82 per cent of the dermatological product sales in this country are of topical creams. The IADVL alleged that chemists recommend these products without proper guidance and hence it was important to make these products available through prescriptions only.
A public interest litigation in the Delhi High Court by the IADVL has led to the government Act and put these drugs under schedule H category....