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November 24, 2010

Centre bans anti-obesity drugs

NEW DELHI: The government has banned manufacturing & sale of anti-obesity medicine Sibutramine & its combination drugs sold under various brands due to side effects, including heart attack in consumers.

The ban with immediate effect is based on the recommendation of an expert committee that came out on November 12 to suspend the drug, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) said on Monday. The committee was formed to look into the matter, after the drug’s innovator company US-based Abbott Laboratories withdrew its brand from the local market on October 25, as part of a global recall. 

The annual market size of the drug is pegged at around 30 crore, a third of which was accounted by Abbott’s brand Leptos. Indian drugmakers such as Microlabs, Emcure & Cipla also sell their own brands of the same product. Sibutramine is the third drug used for treating diabetes & obesity that has been banned in India in the past two years. Last month, the DCGI banned the import and manufacture of Rosiglitazone, an anti-diabetic drug due to adverse side effects. In March last year, the government asked pharma companies not to make or sell anti-obesity pill Rimonabant after it was found to cause depression & suicidal tendencies.

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