According to the 2006 Hindu-CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey, 31% of Indians are vegetarian, while another 9% also consume eggs. Now, that was 11 years ago but how much could that number rise? The myth which says India is a vegetarian country doesn’t justify the statistics though. After the never-ending debate over veg and non-veg food, we’ve reached veg and non-veg medicines!
So for the last 185 years, the outer shell of capsules has been prepared from gelatin which is a food derivative from collagen which is obtained from various animal body parts. Now, that makes capsules non-vegetarian and there was no alternative available.
Now on, instead of gelatin-based capsules, there is a possibility that cellulose-based capsules could be available. These could be prepared from hydrogenated vegetable oil (vanaspati) which is derived from cellulose.
The Central Government is working towards cellulose-based capsules. Pharmaceutical companies claim that around 95 per cent of capsule shells are prepared from gelatin but now, the change could be brought in with cellulose-base capsules according to Indian Pharmaceutical Association's Vice President, Manjiri Gharat.
These cellulose-base capsules will be more expensive than the gelatin-based capsules.
Both types of capsules will be available in the market. You need to watch out for the red or green dot!