Cough syrup abuse gets India's attention

Officials at India's finance ministry, which controls the country's narcotics allocations, plan to get tougher with the country's makers of codeine-based cough syrups in order to crack down on abuse of the medicines.

The country implemented rules more than a year ago designed to make it easier for regulators and law enforcement to trace smuggled cough syrup back to wholesalers, according to a report by Reuters. Companies agreed to cut the number of bottles produced in a single batch, Reuters reported, but have resisted other demands.

Reuters said sales of the medicine were "unusually" high in some states and said an official with the finance ministry, Rashmi Verma, said the government will again pressure makers to comply with the rules.

Verma did not provide specifics as to what the government would do to enforce the rules, but in the past it has cut allocations of codeine that are distributed solely via state-run facilities.

Reuters reported that a complete ban on codeine-based medicines had been considered at one regulatory meeting, but Verma told the news agency it did not want to go down that road because there was a "genuine demand" for the drug.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration of Mumbai's home state of Maharashtra has seized 15,000 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup after an undercover officer bought the syrup, according to a report in the Economic Times.

- here's the story from Reuters
- and one from the Economic Times