Thursday, February 9, 2012


Srinagar Feb 09 (Only Kashmir): Wholesale and retail dealers in pharmaceutical products today staged a protest here against the Jammu and Kashmir government's new drug policy, claiming that it would severely affect their trade.
The pharma traders assembled at Residency Road and marched towards Clock Tower at Lal Chowk where they sat on a dharna, officials said.
Police urged the protesters to disperse peacefully as their assembly was illegal in view of Section 144 CrPC being in effect in the city but they refused, prompting the police to resort to lathicharge and spraying of water cannons to bring the agitators under control.
There were no report of anyone getting injured in the police action, officials said, adding that one person was detained.
The new drug policy envisages rationalising the number of drug licences in the state. As per the policy, only those drugs on the essential drugs list would be procured and the drugs would be selected taking into account the demand, lead time, transportation and emergency needs.
An inventory control system has also been put in place to prevent excessive stocking of medicines. (OK)


rashid,  Thursday, February 09, 2012  

It is hoped that, accountability will be introduced at all stages of R&D, manufacturing, sales, distribution, purchase, prescription, dispensing and post-marketing analysis. Strengthening, security, back up facilities and empowerment of enforcement authorities would ensure the fulfillment of the objective. It is my fervent appeal to common people to have a serious look over the very rapid growth of pharmaceutical trade in our state. A serious imbalance is apparent between prosperity and accountability. The prosperity must not come at the cost of human life; it would have otherwise serious repercussions, (we are virtually endangering our health and drug addiction has reached to alarmed levels). Easy availability of the drugs is a huge contributing factor to addiction and due to the lucrative nature of drug peddling, locals hoard these medicines and sell them at higher prices to the addicts. It may be a fact that a few unemployed youth get livelihood in pharmaceutical trade at various levels, and may get initially effected by proposed drug policy. Yet, the overall harm done by marketing of costly drugs usually over-weigh benefits. Licenses should be only granted to well-qualified candidates and limited exclusively to diploma holders (pharmacy), since as per media reports, there is already mushrooming of premises (both retail chemists as well as wholesale pharmaceutical dealers) and irony is that, as of of now, majority of drug license holders are matriculates.

dayasagr Thursday, March 08, 2012  

Some drug manufacturers, some retailers and some doctors ( directly / indirectly) have joined to protest against the J&K Drug Policy and they are desperately trying to seek help of even some politicians .
More worrying for this group has been (i) Jammu Kashmir asking government doctors to write the prescriptions ( as far as possible ) by generic name / chemical name / INN (ii) government doctors should avoid writing combination drugs unless it is very very unavoidable and pre mixing improves the efficacy (iii) Government has issued a list of Essential drugs by Generic name / chemical name that include all those drugs that do not carry any proprietary rights / restrictions and listed drugs would meet the needs of most of the patients (iv) advisory has been issued that 90 % of the drug budget should be used for drugs out of Essential drugs by generic name and 10 % could be used for other drugs / life saving drugs / branded drugs .
Since many doctors in government service who are allowed private practice are directly / indirectly also connected with private clinic / nursing homes / hospitals they too are not being been found interested in promoting the schemes like Jan Aushadi Store or writing subscriptions by generic name / chemical name / International non Proprietary Name ( INN) even for drugs in the list of ESSENTIAL DRUGS.
It has been said that there about 20,000 medicines/ combinations are available in the market. But these are not made out of as many chemical technical materials but most of them are medicines made out of same chemical material that is presented in market by different brand names ( Branded / Branded Generic) . World health organization has identified about 300 drugs as Essential drugs. Government of India had first drawn out a list of 269 which was later revised . National List 2003 of Essential Medicines (NLEM) had 354 items and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr Surinder Singh had disclosed to media on 11th June 2011 that a new list of NLEM 2011 of 348 items had been finalised after deleting 47 drugs ( no anti-cancer or anti-HIV drugs hade been deleted but instead eight new cancer drugs had been added in NLEM 2011 increasing the number to 30) essential drugs..These essential drugs can handle almost all common diseases as well as conditions of ill patients . Government of J&K to has included such a list of Essential Drugs in the J&K Drug policy .Under this policy when government would procure only generic / identified drugs , with the same 100 rupess drugs worth Rs. 500 will be purchased. Without spending more funds more medicines would be purchased. daya sagar

dayasagr Thursday, March 08, 2012  

Incase this government policy has some practical difficulties the same could suggested but total rejection only reflects selfish motives.
Medical representatives need not worry for losing employment since (i) private doctors would be still there for their visit (ii) in case for essential drugs they will not be required to visit the government doctors they would be still required to visit the drug retailers so that they offer their drugs to patients , no doubt they will have to offer better prices / terms (iii) there would be still many drugs / vaccines / tonics outside essential drugs for which they need visit government doctors / private sector (iv) the over all sale of the drugs will remain the same ( unless so far the doctors were unnecessary prescribing drugs and practice gets curtailed substantially due to prescription audit ) and companies will have to keep some one to sell their product. No doubt unless some unfair practices are used to get even the prices of drugs supplied to Jan Aushadi Stores by PSU manipulated beyond what have been so far circulated / quoted , the profits of the retailers / prescription writers would substantially reduce.
Efforts of J&K Health Minister deserve common support. To make Drug Policy a success .1. Soon atleast one Jan Aushadi Store should be opened near every hospital / dispensary by J&K Government. NGOs / Cooperatives and unemployed persons could be given support for running Jan Aushadi Stores (2) Government must immediately invite the managers of Government Public Sector Drug Manufacturing units and draw out a programme with them so that the hospitals JAS do not fall short of medicines . This will also increase viability of PSU ( 3) Government must carry the message to the interiors that generic medicines too are no less effective than the branded / branded generic drugs in market. Assistance of NGOs could be taken. (4) to over see implementation a committee should be constituted having members from amongst the people working on the subject / NGOs. 5. Government must get the list of Essential Drugs circulated widely as also the prices ( MRP) of the same drugs as would be available in the Jan Aushadi Stores. This way those manufacturers would also be checked who in some cases keep a margin of even 400% for the dealer / retailer or even those who unfairly price MRP and keep higher price for retailer as compared to same item marketed under different brand name even by the same supplier.
But surely the J&K Drug Policy is one such effort of Omar Abdullah and Sham Lal Sharma that need to be supported for making it a success. May be success of J&K Drug Policy gives directions to other Indian States as well. More particularly, by implementing the Drug Aushadi Store scheme in a big way ( not just announcing 4 stores in 2010 and opening just one even upto 2012 ) the J&K Health Minister can prove all those wrong who are naming his this ( Drug Policy) as anti patients.
(*Daya Sagar : social activist and Sr. Coloumnist on Kashmir affairs, 09419796096)

dayasagr Thursday, March 08, 2012  

Outright Campaign against J&K DRUG POLICY is not in Greater Public Interest :::Daya Sagar
The manner in which a patient is being looted could be well be seen here >. For treatment of Blood Pressure irregularities one chemical salt ( Amlodipine Besilate ) is offered in the market by different names .By brand name AMTAS-5 a 15 tablet strip is marked with MRP of Rs. 54.84. The same salt is marketed by trade name as Amodep-5 and 14 tablet strip has MRP marked as just Rs.11/=. There are many medicines in market like this. But very few doctors prescribe Amlodep in a regular course. One would ask why ? . The manner in which the drug manufacturers label their MRP for branded item and how do some doctors join hands with the seller for writing prescriptions is often discussed by people.
Question is not for making available low priced or cheaper medicines to patients. Question is for fairly displaying the MRP of the drugs. Expert institutions ( like MCI) have accused some branded drug manufacturers of DICOTOMY ( sharing of the split MRP between the seller and prescription writer) pricing. With this drug policy, if implemented , surely a check will be put on those who sell the medicines and render health services through unfair trade practices like display of MRP. Health sector is such a sector where the patient / needy person is under so much emergent need that he has no time / environment for negotiations on prices of drugs and is so commonly subjected to unfair price charging. Like other policies of the Governments, under the environment of the day , it was what natural that the J&K DRUG POLICY 2012 would come under controversies. A political party speaking against the other should not surprise a vigilant person. But the manner in which a senior opposition leader has been quoted as having said that Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh should intervene to see that the J&K Drug Policy is not implemented since it is not the in the interest of common man , is surely a simple political gimmick. Most of the provisions of the Drug Policy demonstrate the concern that the J&K Chief Minister and Health Minister have for the welfare of the common man keeping inview his economic and health needs ( this is well reflected from the policy / advisory laid down as regards the procurement of medicines for government hospitals and writing of prescriptions particularly by government doctors ). Drug policy has many chapters but the “ CHAPTER that has become the issue for discussions is that of procurement of drugs for government hospitals and writing of prescriptions by doctors ( particularly government doctors).
The draft Drug Policy was circulated in 2009 and it has been now after 3 years that Jammu Kashmir Cabinet approved the same for allopathic stream on 12 January 2012 and Government order NO 80-HME-2012 was issued in this regard on 2 February 2012. Not only in India, but also in most of other countries it is only the allopathic stream that is the first choice of the majority of patients. May be delay reflects that the way the Jan Aushadi Store scheme ( 2008 ) of GOI has not been allowed to push in / take effective strides ,the same way J&K Drug Policy too has many irritants ( [particularly the chapters on the sale and purchase of drugs) for those in the trade of drugs and health services.
The chapter on purchase of medicines and writing of prescriptions has disturbed the critics the most.
(*Daya Sagar : social activist and Sr. Coloumnist on Kashmir affairs, 09419796096)

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