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AIPMA asks govt to lift ban on PET bottles for drug packaging

All India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA), the apex body of plastic industry, has raised objections against the government notification prohibiting use of polyethylene terephthalate or plastic containers for primary packaging of drug formulations.

It has also requested immediate intervention of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to withdraw the rules.

The Union health ministry has decided to go ahead with its decision to ban the use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers in pharmaceutical industry.

The draft notification says no manufacturer shall use the PET or plastic containers in liquid oral formulations for primary packaging of drug formulations for paediatric use, geriatric use and for use in pregnant and women of reproductive age group.

“The Health Ministry’s decision to ban PET bottles is based on the recommendations of the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, in line with the concerns expressed by an expert panel.

“The government move is expected to break the backbone of PET product manufacturers,” All India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) president Rituraj Gupta said in a statement here.

The pharma companies have been given a transition period of six months after the final publication of the order in the official gazette to switch over to alternate packaging medium, he said.

Since PET became commercially available in 1980, more than 300 million MT of PET has been sold and consumed globally over the last four decades. This has gone into production of more than 15 trillion PET bottles. The consumers have had water, beverages, edible oil, liquors, juices as well as medicines in these bottles.

In India alone, in the last two decades, more than 5 lakh MT of PET has been consumed to produce more than 40 billion packs oral liquids in pharma sector, Gupta said.

He pointed out that the government’s move will not only impact the PET container manufactures, but will also push up the drug prices and may create scarcity as glass container capacity is inadequate to mitigate demand.

Using the precautionary principle is absolutely invalid and raising it can only be perceived to be exhibiting ignorance.

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