To prevent the indiscriminate sale of ointments containing steroids and antibiotics without prescription, the Union Health Ministry has banned over-the-counter sale of 14 such products. The preparations were included under the Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, in a notification issued on March 23.
The decision was taken following consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, which had recommended a ban on the sale of such creams without a prescription and also submitted their recommendations to the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation. The move comes after dermatologists complained that pharmaceutical companies were selling steroid-based creams to patients, who use them without medical guidance. Some ointments that have been banned are alclometasone, beclomethasone, desonide and fluocinonide among others.