Union govt brings Tramadol under narcotics law regulation

Tramadol is a painkiller pharma drug, has been declared a ‘psychotropic substance’ by the Union government and its sale in the country will now be strictly monitored after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said it was being internationally smuggled, and had possible supply links to the global terror group ISIS

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The Union Finance Ministry, as per data accessed by, has brought the Tramadol under the control of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and a gazette notification to this effect was issued on April 26.

The Finance Ministry regulates certain sections of the NDPS Act like categorisation of pharma drugs as narcotic substances.

The synthetic opiate is known to be abused on a wide scale by terrorists of the so-called ISIS to suppress pain and boost strength during injury and hence, is also known as the ‘fighter drug’ among international anti-narcotics authorities.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), a national agency to coordinate drug law enforcement action by involving various state agencies, police and central departments, had asked the government in July last year to bring this drug under its regulation and control so that it could only be used for medicinal purposes and its abuse be checked.

Tramadol, after the notification issued by the Department of Revenue under the Union Finance Ministry, will no longer be available freely over the counter in India.

The latest notification will ensure that the availability of Tramadol is substantially reduced and regulated, and agencies like the NCB and police are able to keep a tab on its movement.

“It will be regulated under the NDPS Act, which will empower the NCB and other law enforcement agencies to raid and prosecute those who prepare it without permission,” a senior official in the anti-narcotics establishment said.

The other phrama drugs that are prominently ‘abused and trafficked’ in the country include cough syrups (containing Codeine) like Corex, Phensedyl, Recodex and depressants like Alprazolam, Diazapam, Clonazepam, Lorazapam and Benzodiazepine. It was first reported on March 26 that the NCB has sought bringing Tramadol under the NDPS Act after it detected that it was being ‘diverted’ illegally, NCB sources said.

Tramadol is used like codeine (another pharma drug). It is not covered under the NDPS Act, 1985. It is a schedule ‘H’ drug under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and can only be dispensed under the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.


While talking to My Medical Mantra Jagganath Shinde, President of Chemist Association said, “We have got this notification. Now through this notification, this drug cannot be easily accessible. We will require a doctor’s prescription to sell this drug. If the prescription is right, only then we sell this drug.”