Gelatin-Free Medicine to Become the New Norm?
Besides the more obvious ingredients that plant-based eaters avoid, there are also the not-so-obvious ones, which can include ingredients like casein, whey, and gelatin.
The latter one can be found in anything from beers, wines, candies, and even supplements or medicine, as the capsules themselves can be made from gelatin. There are vegetarian cellulose-based alternatives for capsules, but gelatin is still more widely and commonly used–particularly for medication.
However, according to the Daily Mail, The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is in the process of deciding whether a switch to cellulose-based capsules will replace the standard non-vegetarian ones. The review comes after the CDSCO received a proposal from an advisory panel. Dr. G.N. Singh, Drug Controller General of India, stated:
“A proposal has been received to replace gelatin capsules with cellulose-based capsules which are of plant origin and are safe for use compared to animal-based gelatin capsules. In order to examine the pros and cons of the proposal, we have invited science-based suggestions and comments for taking a considered decision on the matter.”
The argument for a “safer” option is based on a document released by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) that outlines the strict regulations necessary for animal-derived gelatin, which requires the absence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (commonly known as ‘mad cow disease’), and that it therefore makes sense to look for alternatives.
The BIS also noted that patients may have “religious, cultural and personal issues” with gelatin use, which is another factor in voting for a more inclusive capsule-base for medications.
According to the report, the BIS have already outlined the standards necessary for vegetarian capsules, based on the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules of 2011. If the proposal is approved, the CDSCO could make the final orders regarding the future of capsules in less than a month.
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