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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 56-57

News of activity report of IADVL's taskforce against topical steroid abuse: Tireless efforts bringing fruits!!

Consultant Dermatologist & Coordinator Maharashtra for IADVL's Taskforce Against Topical Steroid Abuse, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication1-Dec-2015

Correspondence Address:
Kiran Nabar
Coordinator Maharashtra for IADVL's Taskforce Against Topical Steroid Abuse, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WKMP-0110.170756

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How to cite this article:
Nabar K. News of activity report of IADVL's taskforce against topical steroid abuse: Tireless efforts bringing fruits!!. Indian J Drugs Dermatol 2015;1:56-7

How to cite this URL:
Nabar K. News of activity report of IADVL's taskforce against topical steroid abuse: Tireless efforts bringing fruits!!. Indian J Drugs Dermatol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Jun 1];1:56-7. Available from: https://www.ijdd.in/text.asp?2015/1/1/56/170756

Craze for fairness of skin is age old in our country. In the recent years, it has reached an epidemic level. Up till now, females were craving for fairness. At present, even males have also joined the bandwagon! In a multicenter study in India on "topical corticosteroid abuse on the face," it was found that 29% of the patients using steroid cream on the face were using it for fairness of the skin, and about 24% were using it for acne. Because of easy availability of corticosteroids and inefficient regulations, unregulated use and self-abuse of corticosteroids have reached to an alarming level and have become a "public health problem" as far as skin health is concerned. Chronic use of topical steroid cream on face results in various side effects such as acneiform eruption, hypertrichosis, striae, telangiectasia, fixed erythema, thinning of the skin, and perioral dermatitis. Treating fungal infections have become a nightmare due to indiscriminate use of topical corticosteroids, which is leading to resistance to antifungal drugs. In short, topical steroids are causing significant and sometimes irreparable damage to the skin. In the pursuit of fairness, general public is failing to understand the fact that they are inflicting damage onto their own skin. For reasons unknown, the government agencies responsible for regulating the use of drugs, such as corticosteroids, have failed miserably in discharging their duties. The problem worsened when a number of pharmaceutical companies started running advertisements of corticosteroid creams in print and electronic media. Realizing the imminent danger to the health of people at large, dermatology association of India, i.e., IADVL was forced to take counter steps in this direction.

Most topical corticosteroids are under schedule H of Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1945. Many of them contain clobetasol, mometasone, and fluocinolone which are potent steroids to be only used under the supervision of qualified dermatologists. These drugs are supposed to be sold only on prescriptions by a qualified doctor and not over-the-counter. Similarly, under Schedule J clause 18 of the same act, one cannot claim a drug for the fairness of skin. Furthermore, according to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) act, 1954, section 4 (Prohibition of Misleading Advertisements Relating to Drugs), no one can advertise a drug which (a) directly or indirectly gives a false impression regarding the true character of the drug or (b) makes a false claim for the drug.

On the June 1, 2015, I myself, Dr. Vijay Zawar, President of IADVL Maharashtra and Dr. Vibha Nigale, the Immediate Past President of IADVL Maharashtra, had a meeting with Dr. Harshadeep Kamble, Commissioner Food and Drug administration (FDA) Maharashtra regarding the burning issue of topical steroid abuse. We had a good healthy discussion on this issue, and a power point presentation was made to him. He asked his doubts. We expressed a deep concern about steroid-based triple combination creams such as UB Fair and NO Scar creams which are actually drugs and are marketed and advertised by Torque Pharma as fairness creams on various national television channels and in various newspapers. On the August 3, 2015, we had a meeting with Mr. S. R. Salunke, Assistant Commissioner of FDA Raigad division. On the August 4, 2015, FDA put a raid and sealed stock of UB Fair and No Scar creams of worth Rs. 9 lakhs from Bhiwandi and Panvel Stockist. Torque has approached Court in this regard and the matter is subjudice. Meanwhile, it is sad that advertisements are continued to appear in various newspapers in Maharashtra. Hearing of this case and the verdict of honorable Court is awaited. Judgment of the Court can only put break to such advertisements. If any dermatologist or doctor comes across a cream that contains steroid and which is promoted and advertised as cosmetic fairness cream, our association can be approached. You also may complain directly to Commissioner FDA on comm.fda-mah@nic.in. Similarly, if any chemist is prescribing this drug to general public without the prescription of qualified doctor or dermatologist, a complaint can be made in this regard.

Even beauty parlors are dispensing and selling steroid containing creams as fairness creams in loose jars. If you, or your friend, or relatives develop above-mentioned side effects on face after applying so-called fairness creams, you can get it tested for steroids in any one FDA approved laboratory (https://fda.maharashtra.gov.in/publiclaboratery.aspx).

IADVL has started a nationwide campaign against Topical Steroid Abuse under the banner of IADVL's Taskforce Against Topical Steroid Abuse. We are sensitizing doctors, chemists, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, regulatory agencies, and the general public regarding this menace of topical steroid abuse. More efforts are needed in this regard. We wish that the state and central IADVL should have media management cell and legal cell to facilitate dermatologists to take systematic and meaningful steps regarding issues of public health importance like this. I hereby appeal you to spread this message of topical steroid abuse to as many people as possible and help us to help you!

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There are no conflicts of interest.


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