Global OTC Medicine Restrictions: India
The requested information on the number of US travelers who visited India, the required and recommended vaccinations / immunizations for US visitors, and the banned OTC drugs in India has been provided in rows 2-75, column C of the attached spreadsheet.
- According to the Indian Ministry of Tourism, 1.38 million American tourist arrivals visited India in 2017.
- Vaccination against yellow fever is required by the Indian Health Agency, especially those coming from yellow-fever areas. Although the US is free from yellow fever, Indian health regulations require an evidence of vaccination against yellow fever.
- According to CDC, some recommended vaccinations for Americans who want to travel to India include measles, cholera, malaria, and others.
While we could pull data from the CDC and the US National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO) to provide the list of required vaccinations/immunizations US travelers must have before visiting India, as well as data from the Indian Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to determine the banned the OTC drugs in India, information on the total number of US travelers to India was a bit challenging.
To address this, we began by searching through US government sources, especially NTTO on the total number of US travelers to India. While NTTO publishes the information on outbound travelers, it only does that on a regional basis. Hence, it only provides the total number of US travelers to Asia. Switching to the other side, we searched Indian government websites, especially the ministry, as they are the only government body we recognized that tracks inbound and outbound visitors in India. While the Indian Ministry of Tourism published the number of inbound US travelers, it only does so for foreign tourist arrivals, which may not account for business travelers.
Next, we expanded our approach to specifically cover industry reports and media articles, both from the US and India. From these sources in the US, we were not able to find any relevant information apart from except from a source that provided the total number of US travelers to India in 2012, which we deemed too old. From these Indian sources, we found lots of information (such as this report) on the number of American travelers who visited India, however, we found that a majority of these sources cited the same data published by the Indian Ministry of Tourism — the number of foreign tourist arrivals including the US. We also tried to find the number of American business travelers into the US so that we could add it to the number of American tourist but found no information, as it seemed that the Indian government isn't tracking such information.
Since, there were no direct sources, we attempted to triangulate this data from the number of US travelers to Asia, as published by the NTTO. However, this method was feasible because we could not get any supporting data that could be used to obtain the share of American travelers who traveled to India from the number of those who traveled to Asia. We also tried to triangulate the requested data from the total number of US travelers to India for the year 2012. But again, it was not possible because we could not find any growth figure that could be used to determine a more recent figure by factoring the growth.
Since there was no way of triangulating this figure, we provided the total number of foreign tourist arrivals who visited India in the 2017, as published by the Indian Ministry of Tourism. We did this because this was the only data on American travelers tracked by the Indian government and the fact that multiple third-party sources report the data (foreign tourist arrivals) as the number of visitors.
Lastly, for the determination of banned OTC drugs in India, we found the most recent (2019) list of all the banned drugs, as published by the Indian Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. We used the list to corroborate the listed OTC drugs in the spreadsheet. While none of the drugs are banned in India, we found some uncertainties around Acetaminophen, Antacid, Ibuprofen, and Electrolyte Mix. This was because while they were not listed individually as banned drugs, they were shown to be banned when in combination other drugs, some in fixed doses, while the dose description was provided for some. For Antibiotic Ointment, while it was directly listed, Penicillin Ointment is banned in India, of which Penicillin is an antibiotic.