04 August, 2021

The ‘Pure Veg’ Prescription

Why does the government want to replace gelatin with cellulose in medicines? For the sake of vegetarianism.

The ‘Pure Veg’ Prescription

If the government has its way, pretty soon medicines will also be classified as pure vegetarian. A proposal within the government seeks to replace all capsules using gelatin hard shells with cellulose shells.

Gelatin is obtained from bones of bovines and in India, mostly buffalo bones are used to manufacture it. Though it is totally detoxified and trea­ted, there is a lobby within the government which is pushing the idea that as it is obtained from non-vegetarian sources, it can off­end religious sentiments of many patie­nts in India. In contrast, cellulose, the alternative suggested, is obtained from totally ‘vegetarian’ sources.

In March 2016 the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) issued a not­ice stating that it has received a proposal for switching gelatin capsules with hydroxypropyl methylc­el­lul­­ose (HPMC) or cellulose capsule shells. The notice has caused panic in the Indian pharmaceutical industry beca­use if implemented, it will raise the cost of production and increase the price of medicines...

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