Accountability in every sphere
The consumption of medicine in a place like Kashmir is too high. People from all age groups here consume medicine at an alarming rate making as one of the few regions in India which tops the table in consumption of medicine.
The region has the presence of almost all pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing companies given the high rate of medicine consumption here. This high consumption of medicine and the competition between pharmaceutical companies turns out to be the reason for various malpractices that are often reported. One such malice is the unnecessary use of medicine by the patients who always blame the medicos for this messy practice.
However, to control the menace of overuse of medicines, the Health and Medical Education Department (H&ME) had accorded sanction for the constitution of prescription audit committees at the Government Health Institutions across Jammu and Kashmir.
The prescription audit committee was to be formed at the Government Medical College, district and sub-district levels. The prescription committees would keep a check on the prescriptions given by the doctors and to contain the reported unethical practices by some health care professionals.
The government had also plans to appoint nodal officers who shall at random collect photocopies of at least 1% (one percent) of the prescriptions on daily basis written by the Government Doctors in the OPDs.
These prescriptions collected by the Nodal officers would have been scrutinized by the Prescription Audit committees to check whether the prescription are written legibly in Capital Letters with the name of the doctors, his/her signatures and registration number, generic drugs are prescribed and preference given to the drugs which are available free in the Hospital supplies, unnecessary diagnostics test are not prescribed and patients are not referred to private clinics/specialists without requirement and whether drugs are prescribed in contravention to the provision of Drug and Cosmetics Act and Regulations.
The move though a welcome provided that the medicos stick to genuine practices and would have ensured that patients life is not put at risk by forcing him to consume unnecessary medicine.
As of now no such practice was followed in Jammu and Kashmir as various vested interests have been intervening at various levels to get the entire process stalled.
These vested interests who are hand in glove with pharmaceutical companies had so far succeeded to control the medicine market in Jammu and Kashmir that too at the cost of the poor and hapless patients here.
The government should now ensure that the prescription audit mechanism is put in place and strict punishment is given to those who violate or sabotage the move. Prescription audit needs strict implementation as the cost of prescriptions (per patient) is witnessing a steep rise with every passing day.
The move may be resisted at various levels but the administration needs to pursue it all all costs.