Drug Still Under Lens, But 4 Docs Give It Clean Chit

Drug Still Under Lens, But 4 Docs Give It Clean Chit

Bengaluru, 17 Jan 2020:


At a time when pharma companies in western countries are withdrawing supply of ranitidine, a heartburn drug, five doctors attended a press conference called by JB Ch-emicals and Pharmaceutical here on Thursday to declare the drug as ‘absolutely’ safe and that there were no effective alternatives to it.


In September 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) raised an alarm after a carcinogenic was found in the drug. Following this, the Indian drug regulator asked ranitidine manufacturers to submit drug-safety standards.


Used by renal/heart patients and diabetics, ranitidine in solids, liquids, injections and combinations has an Indian market worth Rs 724 crore. JBCL’s Rantac, a ranitidine molecule, accounts for Rs 228 crore.


Stating that “they were only dispelling myths about the molecule ranitidine and not speaking for any particular brand”, Dr TR Raghu, HoD, cardiology, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research (SJICSR); Dr Ashok Kumar, HoD, cardiovascular surgery, SJICSR; Dr Nagendra Kumar, consultant paediatric gastroenterologist, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) and Columbia Asia Hospitals; Dr Purushottam Chavan, assistant professor, head and neck onco-surgeon, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (KMIO) and Dr Arun KN, nephrologist, Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital, said the controversies pertaining to the drug had led to confusion among patients.


Dr Anant Bhan, researcher, bioethics, global health and policy, said the doctors could speak about a drug based on their experience, but only at a neutral forum and in their individual capacity.


Stating that he was unaware of two doctors from his institute attending the press conference to endorse ranitidine, Dr CN Manjunath, director, SJICSR said: “As clinicians, we only prescribe drugs and do not test them. Hence, we have no authority to speak about drug safety.”


Dr C Ramachandra, director, KMIO, said he had no clue about his colleague taking part in such a press conference. Dr BT Khanapure, Karnataka state drugs controller, said the drug though not banned in India is yet to get safety clearance. “How can a company which manufactures ranitidine make doctors say the drug is safe? We will investigate the matter,” he said.


Jawaid Akhtar, principal secretary, medical education department, said the doctors will be issued notice in the first instance. ET Healthworld