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Choosing a veg or non-veg medicine will soon become a reality, as Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) might give authority to drug manufacturers in choosing a veg capsule shell or non-veg capsule shell.

The decision will be made on Saturday on the advice of a scientific advisory panel. Veg capsule shells are made of cellulose that is derived from plants while non-veg capsule shells are made of a compound called gelatin derived from animals.

Gelatin is a colorless and brittle compound extracted from the connective tissues, skin, bones, etc. of various animals including fishes, pigs and cows. Till date gelatin has been used vividly in making capsule shells, but now DCGI wants to set new standards that will allow drug manufacturers to choose between cellulose and gelatin in making shells.

Last month Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) made it clear that there is need for gelatin replacement and also there should be strict regulations on its use. BIS also said, “religious, cultural and personal issues may affect patients’ preference towards the medications presented in capsule dosage forms.”

Since, there are gelatin alternatives for making capsule shells, scientists believe that it is time for the gradual phasing out of gelatin. Also, a Bill regarding making cellulose mandatory in capsules has been pending for discussion in Monsoon Session.

When asked about the amendment, the Health Ministry said that they haven’t received any proposal yet and they will look into the matter once the DCGI takes a call on it.

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