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Scrutiny
  
What’s in a name? Everything!!!
Indian pharmas are misusing International Nonproprietary Names...
02/10/2008

International Nonproprietary Name (INN) is a system of international nomenclature for pharmaceutical substances that are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). In India, The Trade Mark Act of India prohibits the registration of names that are deceivingly similar to INNs. Nevertheless, there are reported incidents of marketing of drugs under names that are similar to INNs. The WHO has brought the same to the attention of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). In this context, WHO’s study examines the law and policy relating to the use of INNs in different countries with specific indication to India.

DCGI pointed out that there were several constraints in the regulation of brand names in India. This problem is further complicated by the large number of pharmaceutical companies in the country. Brand names cannot be restricted legally. However, the use of a stem or a part of it while coining a brand name gives an indication of the generic name of the drug thereby ultimately promoting its generic use. This is not the first time that WHO is bringing the issue of misuse of INNs before the notice of the DCGI. Earlier during the year, it had shown its apprehension to the use of three other names – docetax for being similar to (the INN) docetaxel, prazole for being an INN by itself and nanotaxel for including for including the INN stem ‘-taxel’ – and had requested the Indian drug regulatory authorities to take remedial measures on an urgent basis. The most request from WHO comes in the form of a request to DCGI to prevent Cadila from securing protection to the stem ‘-platin’ for the cancer drugs cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatiname.

Its not wrong on WHO’s part to object to the ongoing misuse of international non-proprietary names being used as trademark protected brand names by Indian pharmaceutical companies. Surely, there’s ‘something’ in a name, atleast where drugs are concerned!

By:- B&E
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