Centralization of the system of issuing ‘Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product’ (CoPP) by the DCGI is a welcome step.

The ‘Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product’(CoPP), which is valid for two years, is issued by the drug regulatory authorities to a particular pharmaceutical product. CoPP is accepted as a proof of international quality by Latin America, Africa, CIS and other developing countries.
Why is this decision?

The decision of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to centralize the issue of CoPP stems from a request to this effect made by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It has been reported that WHO in April, 2009 informed the Ministry of Health of the Government of India that the organization takes objection in using WHO logo in the CoPP by the Indian exporters of pharmaceutical products as the WHO formats and guidelines are allegedly not properly adhered to by various local issuing authorities of CoPP, in India. The DCGI indicated that WHO specifically requested India that such an important documentation procedure should be controlled at the central drug regulatory authority level and hence is this decision.

Why is the criticism?

By the states:

However, the state drug authorities have expressed their unhappiness and even challenged the power of the DCGI to effect such changes. They feel that there will be revenue loss to the states for this procedural amendment. In addition, they argue that as the manufacturing license to the exporters are issued by the state drug authorities, the CoPP also is to be issued by the same authority, which they feel is an age old practice and works quite well.

By the exporters:

So far as the exporters are concerned, they feel that with the existing inadequate infrastructure available with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), effective implementation of the new system is not possible. This change, they apprehend, would result in unusual delay in issuing the certificate.

The latest status:

On October 13, 2009, the Madras High Court issued a stay order on a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Drug Inspectors Association, against the directive of centralization of CoPP by the DCGI.

On October 15, 2009 the same Madras High Court acting on a petition of the Federation of South Indian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association issued an injunction, which will remain in force until further orders, staying the same order of the DCGI.

On October 20, 2009, Karnataka High Court issued yet another stay order, which will remain effective for a period of four weeks, suspending this new directive on CoPP.

This is the third stay order against the new centralized system of granting CoPP.


Many stakeholders genuinely feel that this change will help strengthening the regulatory framework of the country and improving confidence level on the high quality standard of generic drugs manufactured in India within the world trading community with a positive impact on pharmaceutical exports. This will also enable the DCGI to provide up-to-date details on CoPP to the international regulators, as and when required. In the previous system, the DCGI feels, it used to be quite challenging to quickly compile such data to respond to any national and international request for the same. In the new system there will be one uniform format and the details of all CoPP with their expiry date will be available in the CDSCO website for greater transparency.

The infrastructural issue including the manpower need of the CDSCO to handle this new initiative is being addressed with adequate speed. Overall, this is indeed a laudable move to ensure uniform high quality standard for the pharmaceutical products made in India. Ministry of Health of the Government of India should be complimented for this important initiative.

By Tapan Ray

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own, written in my individual and personal capacity. I do not represent any other person or organization for this opinion.

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