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Current law stifles innovation: Separate law needed for cosmetics products, says HUL

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Mumbai: Consumer goods firm Hindustan Unilever has said innovation is suffering in the beauty and personal care space and there is a need for a separate legislation to govern these products instead of the high levels of regulatory control under the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.

“One has to get approvals for small changes like pack size change, leading to delay in the launch, and innovation suffers. Unshackling regulations without compromising on quality and safety standards and enabling faster launches will help the industry,” said Dev Bajpai, executive director, legal & corporate affairs and company secretary. “The innovation intensity in the personal care industry is high to meet the needs of the discerning consumer and delay costs money and misses [out on] trends.”

At present, the making of cosmetics is regulated under a system of inspection and licensing by the state licensing authorities, and products including soaps, skin care and cosmetics are treated to the highest levels of regulatory control like drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

However, two years ago, a committee was set to examine the present law, which had become archaic, and to have a separate chapter for cosmetics and personal care products.

“It is a positive step by the government, and the industry welcomes it. The other bit that should be considered is to have a separate cosmetics technical advisory committee that acts as a facilitator to the cosmetic sector and delink it from drugs,” added Bajpai, also the vice-president at Indian Beauty and Hygiene Association (IBHA)

IBHA has made representations to the government to make the transition like in the case of food law that moved from prevention of adulteration to a law based on safety and science-based standards. In 2006, the Food Safety and Standards Act was introduced, which consolidated and replaced several food-related laws.

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