Mumbai: After more than three months of its constitution, the expert panel on fixed dose combination (FDC), formed to resolve the lingering FDC issue, is likely to have its first meeting on January 16 and 17. The first meeting, which will be attended by senior health ministry officials including the DCGI and representatives of industry associations, will decide the fate of 43 of the remaining 156 combination drugs, it is learnt.

Even though the official word in this regard is yet to come, the health ministry is learnt to have taken the decision to hold the first meeting of the expert panel in the middle of January to thrash out the FDC issue. The panel, which was constituted on October 1 last year in the second DCGI-industry meeting on FDC, has to decide the fate of the remaining 156 combination drugs. In the first DCGI-industry meeting on FDC on July 14, there was consensus among the industry and the government on as many as 138 combination drugs out of the total 294 controversial combination drugs.

In the October 1 meeting, both the government and the industry agreed to set up an expert panel to prepare the rationality of the remaining 156 FDCs. It was also decided in the meeting that the panel, headed by DCGI Dr Surinder Singh, will take up the FDCs in batches and finally report to the DTAB for final clearance. Though the panel was proposed to meet on November 28, the meeting did not materialise so far due to the preoccupation of the officials, including the DCGI.
Meanwhile, one of the members of the panel Dr RK Sanghavi, who represents the industry, said that he did not receive any letter in this regard so far. "I have also heard that the DCGI is calling the meeting in the middle of January, but I am yet to get the letter in this regard", he said. However, Dr Sanghavi said the industry is ready with the rationality data of the 43 FDCs which will be taken up in the next meeting. Dr Sanghavi, who is an eminent pharmacologist and chairman of IDMA medical sub-committee, is heading the screening committee to prepare the rationality profile of the controversial FDC drugs.