Sub Standard Drug Market

A situation that Kashmir is surviving for the last nearly thirty years has added a new angle to the morbidity. It is manifesting itself psychologically as well as physically. In both the cases, it is the health care sector that is taking the final call.

Doctors in Kashmir have exhibited a rare courage in managing war like situations. Credit goes to them for taking the mental diseases set up from a three-doctor arrangement to a full-fledged department in last three decades.

But what is worrisome, off late, is that the doctors’ advises and counselling is very helpful unlike their prescriptions. Reason: the good market has lot many bad practitioners. Kashmir is considered one of the worst markets where the quality of drugs being supplied to the consumer is much below the standards. While it is true that those who write the prescriptions seek a cut of the sales but the naked truth is that what is being prescribed is much below the normal standards of the pharma sector.

Kashmir has a huge pharma sector. Though the state foots a bill of around Rs 1000 crore a year on the medicines alone, around 90 percent of it is the Kashmir turnover only. It is tragic that a society that grows its new generation to make doctors eventually exploit the same society, directly and indirectly, in order to send their wards to the medical school! Unlike Kashmir, other regions of the state are healthier and better, by taking low doses of few medicines. In Jammu Ayerveda is very popular, so is in Chenab Valley and Ladakh has its own Amchi system.

Incidentally, the medicines are huge margin commodities. There are countless cases in which the most deserving people from lower economic classes do not get even 10 percent concessions on the life saving drugs. This is how the system is working.

While quite a few medical practitioners are ensuring that their patients take the right manufactured product, by and large the doctors avoid getting into the nitty-gritty of follow up, once they write the prescription. This has left the entire pharma sector completely autonomous in making profits, even beyond a point.

Off late, well connected and “wise” fortune hunters have registered brands but in absence of their own manufacturing facilities have resorted to contract manufacturing. They go to the vast lanes and by lanes in central India where they seek what they require. Two things are supposed to be perfect: price and packaging. Nobody has so far gone into the details about what these capsules and the tablets contain.

Jammu and Kashmir, like other states has an established department to tackle the drug market. There are occasional raids also. But the situation is alarming. It needs to be tackled and the governor’s administration is better placed to manage it in comparison to a political government because it will have no local pressures.

Off late, a huge section of population has started shifting from the allopathic system of medical to ten traditional unani systems. Though the level of satisfaction in a certain set of disease is better, the tensions exist there as well. Patients say if they get the free medicines from the hospitals, they feel these are less effective in comparison to the preparations they pay for in the market. This obviously means the bulk supplies for the state and centre run hospitals have been qualitatively compromised.

The medicine chain needs to be checked and investigated. While contaminations and adulteration in anything consumed or not consumed by the humans is inhuman and illegal but offering sub standard medicines to patients is complete insanity. No society must encourage this.

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