Irfan Tramboo

Drugs selling like ‘hot cakes’ come under scanner

Drugs selling like ‘hot cakes’ come under scanner
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Srinagar:  With the footfall of the drug manufacturing companies increasing in the J&K, Drugs and Food Control Organization (DFCO) J&K, while not being able to keep an eye on everything, is now keeping vigil on the medicines that don’t stick in the market so long and are consumed quickly than others raising a feather of doubt.

“Currently, we are sticking to that process, we keep an eye on the market and zero those medicines that are being regularly prescribed and do not stick in the market that long,” Lotika Khajuria, who is currently heading DFCO told ‘Kashmir Vision’

Recently, the department has declared around 14 drugs to be sub-standard quality; however Khajuria said that they have to keep a check on what is being consumed by the patients, “if a drug is found to be substandard, that does not mean it is spurious, there is a lot of hue and cry made about it,” she said.

“There is a particular process that is to be followed if a drug is found to be sub-standard, we write to the licensing agencies that then take care of things, or there is the option of prosecution, which happens usually,” she added.

As per figures, there are around 40,000 brands of medicines that are doing rounds of the markets in the J&K and at the same time there are around 20,000 retail and wholesale outlets that are functional in the state as of now, making it difficult for DFCO to keep a track of everything.

However, on the contrary DFCO is able to lift only 4000 samples per year that are meant to be tested for quality checks, with Khajuria saying that it was not possible to test each and every drug that is in the market.

“Though, the number of brands that are available in the market is very much, we are, as of now, able to lift only 4000 samples per annum for testing,” she said, adding that “we are planning to enhance the testing capacity as of now.”

According to the head of DFCO, there was one drug that was found to be spurious, a year or so ago, and the department took a prompt action against that, “when we came to know about the particular medicine, we lifted it and it was found to be spurious, we did what had to and that too immediately,” she said.

When asked about the Generic Drug Policy in the state, Khajuria said that Jan Aushadhi scheme is already in place, which, not only is of promising quality, but is also available on cheap prizes.

“But the thing is that doctors are not prescribing generic drugs, they only go brands, given the fact that there is a chain of stores functional even in Srinagar under Jan Aushadhi scheme, but the thing is such medicines are not prescribed,” she said.

Notably, the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines provided under Jan Aushadhi are ensured by getting each batch of medicines procured from CPSUs, as well as private suppliers, tested from National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) approved laboratories and conforming to the required standards before the same are supplied to Super stockists /Jan Aushadhi Stores.

Irfan Tramboo

Irfan Tramboo is a reporter and covers education and health and can be contacted [email protected]

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