With each passing year, trade of sub-standard drugs growing in JK

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Srinagar: The drug control department has warned that the sale of sub substandard drugs is on the rise in the Jammu and Kashmir.

One of the top officials in the Drug control department told KNS that trade in substandard drugs has attained an alarming level in the state. “In the past few years, various drug samples taken have been found to be substandard. Majority of them, which have unapproved chemical combination were common are antibiotics, painkillers and vitamins,” said the official wishing not to be named.

“Drug market in the state is under the dragnet of poor-quality drugs. There is a deep-rooted nexus between the drug mafia and some doctors that pump massive quantities of substandard drugs in JK,” sources alleged.

Sources said that there are doctors who prescribe these drugs to patients and in return receive huge money from these firms.

Sources also allege that authorities overlook quality and prefer low-priced medicines for distribution in public hospitals.

They also said that the number of substandard drugs detected by the drug authorities in the past two years has gone near hundred. However, the officials say the number of substandard drugs pumped into the market was too high as the state lacks a proper monitoring system.

The most serious case of spurious drugs surfaced during 2011-2012, when around 2 lakh fake maximizin-625 tablets were distributed in the hospitals, which could have led to multiple deaths.

Health experts say the government should invite tenders for drug procurement from the pharmaceutical companies certified with good manufacturing practices (GMP) by the World Health Organization. They said the GMP-certified companies should be put in competition instead of those known to be associated with the politicians.

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“Ethically, doctors should avoid prescribing drugs which don’t have good efficacy but legally, we can prescribe them as any drug, whether substandard or of good quality, which come into the market only after the approval of the government authorities,” said one of the doctors.

The 2017-survey report of the National Institute of Biologicals, which has put J&K at the 21st rank among the Indian states in terms of availability of quality drugs, revealed that around 3.4 per cent drugs in J&K were found substandard, which was higher than the national average of 3 per cent.’

In 2017-18, at least 69 samples of the total drugs and other healthcare consumables lifted for testing by the DFCO were found to be not of standard quality. “Out of these, 13 samples were from Jammu division, whereas 51 samples were from markets and hospitals of Kashmir division. Four samples were from Leh and one from Kargil.”

Sources said that in the first quarter of 2018-19, around two dozen drugs have already been reported substandard by DFCO in Kashmir division alone.

One of the top government officials told KNS that the issue has been taken seriously and authorities have been directed to take strict action against those involved in sale of substandard drugs.

(With inputs from KNS)

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