Drugmaker Pfizer has voluntarily stopped the  sale and use of its products, Magnex, Magnamycin and Zosyn, in India, following technical issues brought to its attention by their local contract manufacturing site.

Confirming the development, Pfizer said in its response to businessline: “The matter is being investigated by the [contract] manufacturer, and Pfizer will take any further actions if so required.” The action was taken out of abundant caution and on the request of the contract manufacturer, said Pfizer, adding that they placed “utmost emphasis on patient safety and product quality at every step in the manufacturing and supply chain process”. 

Details were not available on the nature of technical issues, highlighted by its contract manufacturer Astral Steritech Private Ltd.

The medicines are antibiotics and sold mostly to healthcare institutions and hospitals, industry representatives said. And it comes just weeks after another incident was reported, involving healthcare multinational Abbott - where a voluntary recall was initiated on a batch of mislabelled thyroid medicine Thyronorm, in two States.

Meanwhile, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) circulated a letter to its members calling for distributors in the different States and districts to suspend the supply and sale of these products, following Pfizer’s communication on certain manufacturing deviations at the contract site.

 AIOCD’s General Secretary, Rajiv Singhal, said the Pfizer medicines were sold to hospitals, and hence it was unlikely to be available at regular chemists for sale, unless the shop was linked to a hospital. He said, the company expected greater clarity in a couple of days, following which a decision could be taken on the existing inventory of these drugs.

Pointing to the two recent incidents, JS Shinde, AIOCD President, observed that multinationals were increasing operating through contract manufacturers on generic drugs. This coupled with greater price control by the Government was seeing large companies possibly being less interested in me-too, trade generics and focusing more on their high-value products, he added.