Medicine bottle

A formal notification in relation to a ban on plastic bottles that are used to pack liquid medicines such as paediatric and geriatric drugs is expected to come within the next fortnight from the Union Ministry of Health in India.

The use of PET bottles in the packaging of pharmaceutical liquid orals, suspensions and dry syrups has been found to lead to severe adverse effects on health, including cancer and physical infirmities. The exposure of plastics to high temperature may also result in adverse effects on the drug formulation that may lead to leachability.

In November 2013, the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recommended a phased ban on the use of plastic or PET items in the packaging of liquid drugs. DTAB says that switching over to these from glass bottles is not based on any scientific studies on possible effects of the packaging on health.

The board concluded that children, the elderly and women of reproductive age should not use pharmaceuticals that are packed in plastic or PET containers. It recommends that under the first phase of the ban, the use of plastic / PET containers should be stopped in primary packaging of formulations for these groups.

The pharmaceutical industry is expected to be given six months for a smooth transition to new types of packaging.

Image: The Indian government is expected to ban plastic bottles used to pack liquid medicine. Photo: courtesy of John Kasawa/

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