With the Indian cosmetic industry estimated at Rs 230 billion, and Rs 3000 crore of that belonging to imported products, the country’s Health Ministry is taking precautions to make sure unsafe cosmetics don’t enter the chain.
Due to an increasing amount of foreign brands entering the domestic market, the authority has implemented a strategy whereby all companies importing cosmetic products will have to register with the apex drug regulator Central Drug Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) as of April 1st, 2013.
According to reports from several news publications, the ministry has approved draft guidelines which bar sales of imported cosmetics in India unless their manufacturers register their products with the apex.
"Many consumers focus on the cost instead of quality and go for cheap products. They believe they are best because they are from another country and this can lead to skin problems. This new regulation aims to eradicate this problem, therefore those failing to do so will face financial penalty, and even jail term."
The only exception to the registration certificate the Authority notes, is in the case where cosmetic products are imported as bulk for re-packaging for 100 per cent export to other countries.
Until now, the industry has been without any regulation, and the Health Ministry has remained indecisive as to implementing the guidelines notified in May 2010. It had an initial enforcement date of April 1, 2011, and has since been extended thrice to October 1, 2011, April 1, 2012 and then September 1, 2012.
According to fellow news publication 'The Pioneer', despite protest from the industry, the Ministry is charging companies a registration fee of US$ 250 for each category of cosmetic, such as lipstick, toothpaste, mascara etc. and if a company seeks to import the same brand belonging to different manufacturers, "it needs to submit separate applications for each manufacturer and pay separate fees."
In the case where the manufacturer has already registered office in India, the authorised agent of the manufacturer, the subsidiary of the manufacturer or any other importer can apply for registration of import of cosmetics with the DCGI.
The rule also prescribes the standards and labelling and packaging requirements for cosmetic products and calls for mandatory disclosures such as details of production sites, details of chemical ingredients and global marketing status.