The Central Drugs Standards Control Organization (CDSCO) has banned the Over the Counter (OTC) sale of topical medications containing hydroquinone from April 1, 2019, without doctor’s prescription. This has been stated in a recent Gazette Notification issued by India’s Health Ministry.
Hydroquinone is also known as Benzene 1, 4-diol or quinol. It is generally found in bleaching creams, skin lighteners, pigment gels and many popular anti-aging products.
Indiscriminate application of these medicines or use without doctor’s advice, can severely impact the skin causing redness, inflammation, rashes and discoloration.
The decision to ban hydroquinone has been taken after recommendations by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, the highest drug advisory body on technical matters. Earlier, in September 2018, the health ministry made the notification available to the public and suggestions and opinions were sought.
An official notification of the ban on hydroquinone was released on March 6, 2019, after bringing hydroquinone containing ointments under Schedule H.