Spurious drugs racket, ray of hope from new Himachal government

PALAMPUR: The sale of sub standard drugs has posed a serious threat to human health not only in Kangra district but in the entire state as the state government had failed to come out with stringent legislation to deal with this menace . In the absence of any check from the state government this trade had flourished in past five years.

Despite the fact that senior officers of the state health department were well conversant with the situation that in number of samples of drugs collected by the health authorities from different chemist shops in the state were failed in the testing labs still no steps have been initiated to stream line the system of sales of medicines in the state. A drug mafia involved in this racket had high political connection and earned crores of rupees.

A news item to this effect was carried by myHimachal news few months back, later the state health department conducted massive raids at different towns in the state but the same were proved futile as the persons involved in this trade had prior information of these raids.

A senior officer of the state health department who refused to disclose his identity to media persons admitted that over one hundred brands of sub standard drugs are selling in different parts of the state. He said it was matter of serious concern that the sample collected from various chemist shops were failed in the labs still no action was initiated and state had flooded with substandard drugs. It was also learnt that orders of the Chief Ministers in this regard to all CMOs in the state were also not implemented .

According information collected by myHimachal news revealed that the business of sub-standard drugs had been flourishing in the state at behest of medical officers posted in various government hospitals and most of the sub-standard drugs were selling on the prescription of medical officers posted in the district, sub divisional level hospital and Primary Health Centers who had patronized particular substandard companies.The patients are specifically directed by the doctors to buy medicines from particular shops.These doctors had been receiving handsome amount of commission from these companies .

The records of the various hospitals revealed that numbers of doctors who were posted at one station for the past six to ten years were repeatedly prescribing particular brands of substandard medicines to their patients. It is most unfortunate that all these facts were already in the notice of senior officers including Secretary Health Government of Himachal Pradesh but nothing was done to improve the affairs.

A representative of the H.P. Chemists Association told myHimachal news that the sale of standard drugs had come down in the state. Another leading chemist and whole sale dealers of medicines disclosed to myHimachal news that though the standard companies medicines were much cheaper in the market but doctors were not prescribing these medicines as standard companies could not afford to oblige the doctors as the margin of profit on sub standard medicines was ranging between 200 to 500 percent and part of it goes to the doctors. Besides, cash , gold, costly gifts, foreign tours and cars are also given to the doctors by the companies if they full-fill the targets.

Most of the companies manufacturing the sub- standard and spurious drugs are located at Amritsar, Mohali, Delhi, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. Other. The medicines are supplied and transported through buses, railway and couriers to avoid the sales tax and income tax as no proper purchase vouchers are given to the buyers.

Now the people of the state expect action from new Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was well conversant with this racket when he was leader of opposition in the state assembly.

A senior journalist from Palampur.

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