Regulatory Issues Hit Dettol And Savlon Supply

Regulatory Issues Hit Dettol And Savlon Supply

New Delhi, 10 April 2019: Consumers looking to buy Dettol antiseptic (brown) liquid and its rival brand Savlon found large packs of the products missing from most brick-and-mortar stores and online marketplaces as an expected regulatory clampdown has interrupted supplies, sources said.


Retailers are now peddling new variants (menthol & lime) of the Dettol liquid, replacing the iconic antiseptic brand. RB that manufactures Dettol, apart from Lizol and Harpic, has positioned the new products as ‘disinfectants’ unlike the original, which sports the ‘antiseptic’ tag. The new products cannot be used for first-aid, retailers said.


The uncertainty over stocking antiseptics seems to have been triggered as the drugs regulator has sought a view on whether these products can be sold without a retail licence.


Under schedule K of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, only “disinfectants” can be sold without a retail licence. It states, “Substances intended to be used for destruction of vermin or insects, which cause disease in human beings or animals, viz insecticides and disinfectants” can be stocked, exhibited and sold without a licence. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier set up an expert panel to decide whether over-the-counter (OTC) products such as Dettol and Savlon, will continue to enjoy exemption as “antiseptics” under the clause. When contacted, a health ministry official told TOI the report is yet to be submitted.


While chemists said only smaller packs (200 ml/500 ml) of these products were available, with the shortage persisting over the last few weeks, kirana store owners said they do not have stocks of Dettol antiseptic liquid in their stores as they cannot be stocked, exhibited and sold without a licence. “All products are available in abundance and there is no shortage of the same,” an RB spokeswoman said. The company, however, refused to answer specific queries on licence requirements to sell Dettol antiseptic.


“We continue to maintain regular supply of Savlon antiseptic liquid to the market,” an ITC spokesperson said.


The health ministry official said the government move to study the exemption had nothing to do with USFDA decision in 2016- 17 on OTC antiseptic washes. The US FDA had said in 2016 that OTC consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients can no longer be marketed, as the ingredients are not safe for long-term daily use.The Times Of India