A PIL in J&K High Court had been necessitated in 2011 agitating poor delivery of services by government health department, more so, since the doctors in government service did not take signals from earlier bans on private practice imposed by government seriously. Still the position is disappointing. It is time for the present Health Minister to apply corrections on ground like implementing the J&K Drug Policy besides reviewing the service rules of government servants.
These days doctors very rarely prescribe medicines by generic name. Government of India had come up with the scheme of Jan Aushadi (drug) Stores in 2008 that had to mostly cover the allopathic drugs in the National List of Essential Medicines – NLEM (nomination of medicines in essential category was started/ proposed WHO in 1970s) .Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of majority of the population. The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e. cost, safety and efficacy.
It is often alleged that some doctors even in government hospitals do not prescribe the drugs that are fairly marked with MRP from amongst the NLEM medicines. May be since the govt doctors are allowed private practice they have some commercial interests as well.
The Jan Aushadi Stores are to dispense medicines at fairly marked MRP since it was found after market studies that medicines in the essential category could be in many cases marked with MRP of just Rs 10 to 12 per strip as against MRP mark of Rs.50 under a brand name supported by the prescriptions of some motivated doctors. For example AmlodipineBesilate IP 5mg is commonly being used as daily support by people suffering from blood pressure disorders. This drug was sold under brand name Amlodep-5 (Manufactured by FDC Ltd) and the MRP in 2010 for a strip of 14 tablets is Rs 11 only ( Rs 0.80 per tab). Same drug was sold under the brand name Amtas -5 (INTAS Pharma ) and MRP for a strip of 15 tablets was Rs 56.84 ( Rs. 3.79 per tablet) .Even after some control of drug prices has been imposed , MRP per tablet is for Amtas-5 (Intas) Rs.3.25 , Amlip -5 (Cipla) Rs.3.17, Amlopres-5 (Cipla) Rs.3.16 , Amvasc (Parental drugs india ltd) Rs.1.04 and Amodep- 5 (FDC Ltd) Rs.0.87 per Tab. Imagine how much extra economic burden such practices would put on a suffering individual since he/she may have to take such drugs for all his remaining life. And when one looks at the MRP and dealer prices for drugs like Amlip and Amlopress it would be more revealing.
In November 2010 it was said that four Jan Aushadi stores will be opened in J&K. But, although there was need to open at least 100 stores near government hospitals / dispensaries in the state immediately no step has been taken so far. As per my information only one store has been opened by Red Cross at Residency Road Srinagar in 2011. So far, nothing has been done to promote this scheme.
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