Chemists Part Of Menacing Racket; 1200 Unlicensed Medical Shops In JK
While the health sector in Jammu and Kashmir is faced with the serious problem of unregulated flow of substandard and spurious drugs, the state government continues to be mum over “unabated sale” of counterfeit medicines by private chemists.
According to sources, some unscrupulous private chemists in league with shoddy pharmaceutical companies are, allegedly, pumping in massive quantities of spurious drugs into the market.
As per official figures, laboratory analysis of around 51 drugs turned out to be substandard out of the 2000 samples collected from different districts of Jammu and Kashmir during 2012. “Out of these 40 samples were taken from private medical shops while only 11 had been taken collected from government hospitals.”
“Most of these drugs are supplied to Kashmir as around 33 substandard medicine samples were taken from Kashmir,” sources said.
They said that the drug samples have failed the test for the quantity of the salt supposed to be present and some of them were found failing in other parameters.
While the lab reports have confirmed the substandard nature of these drugs, the authorities have not yet taken action against any of the manufacturers of the drugs declared substandard.
“The authorities are least concerned about the sale of these drugs in open market as no chemist was booked after the revelation,” said an official.
Last year the Drug Control officials of J&K in a review meeting with Divisional Commissioner Kashmir revealed that medicines worth Rs 600 crore are being consumed annually in J&K of which Rs 400 crore are consumed in the Kashmir valley alone.
Sources said that 95 percent drugs are being distributed through private distributors and chemist shops as “a total of 9451 licensed retailers and 6073 licensed wholesalers operate in J&K.”
As per official data, total of 4912 licensed retailers, and 4573 wholesalers operate in Kashmir division and a total of 4539 licensed retailers and 1500 wholesalers operate in Jammu division. “Still around 1200 medical shops in the state are running without license,” said an official.
Sources said the unregistered shops encourage sale of substandard and spurious medicines. “Out of a total of 614 drugs tested by the Government Drug Testing Laboratory of Srinagar, 25 (4.07%) were declared as substandard during 2010 whereas 33 and 37 drugs were declared substandard in 2008 and 2009 respectively,” said a senior official.
He said the markets in JK are inundated with spurious medicines as various fake companies, sources said, fix a deal with the doctors in their private clinics for prescribing spurious medicines to their patients.
According to sources, even wards of some doctors are being paid capitation fee for admission in private medical colleges in lieu of prescription of substandard drugs.
A well-known doctor of Kashmir was recently offered by a fake company a sedan car and a free family tour, sources claimed.
While the pharmaceutical dealers blame the doctors for promotion of substandard, spurious drugs in the state, the government holds the former responsible for imports of spurious drugs from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and UP.
On the other hand, some doctors alleged that the office of drug controller is involved in the sale of spurious drugs. They stressed the need to establish “state of the art” drug laboratories to test the medicines expeditiously for quality.