HYDERABAD: In spite of repeated warnings, several pharma companies in the State continue to sell their energy drinks under the name of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS). The intake of these fake ORS fluids worsen the patient’s health if taken during the episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting.
July 29 is observed as World ORS Day. The ORS is a life-saving drug, especially for children suffering from dehydration. The only reliable formula to make ORS is recommended by the World Health Organisation.
“Some companies are mis-labelling their energy drinks as ORS or something similar. The high sugar content in these drinks worsens the diarrhoea as they inadequately replace the salt content in the body, increasing the incidence of diarrhoea-related complications like dehydration, shock and death,” said Dr Shivaranjani Santosh, a consultant paediatrician in a leading hospital here. After multiple representations from doctors and activists, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a directive on April 8 this year. It was clearly mentioned in the directives that the drinks without approval from the Drug controller General of India (DCGI) cannot use ORS on their labels.
“There has been no change in the situation. The pharma companies are still selling fake formulas,” Dr Shivaranjani said, adding that ORS L, Rebelanz Vit ORS, Fruitnik Electroplus ORS, ORS Fit are some popular brands of fake ORS that are being sold in the State.
While buying ORS in pharmacies, people should look for the FSSIA mark. “As ORS is a drug, it should be approved by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Other energy drinks get approval from the FSSIA,” Dr Shivaranjani said. If the packet has such a mark, it’s not recommended by WHO. The original ORS will have a DCGI mark mentioning that they used WHO formula. There will be clear instructions about the use of water with the contents of the packet.