Saturday, November 28, 2020

Costly medicine

The absence of a proper drug policy, which governs the sale and distribution of life-saving medicines in the state has been felt for a long time but the state government has refused to wake up to the menace of fake and spurious drugs in the market. In fact, this phenomenon has been affecting the precious lives of the citizens for years together. In the absence of proper guidelines, distribution of spurious medicines has been continuing unabated in whole of the state without any check by the concerned authorities. In continuation of denial by the government, drug companies are ruling the roost and flooding the market with fake and sub-standard drugs and cashing in on the innocence and haplessness of the patients in the state. Moreover, the private companies and doctors have weaved a vicious network by way of which sub-standard drugs are being prescribed and sold to the patients endangering their lives. Since these medicines and drugs reap huge profits, they don’t mind sharing a part of the booty with the doctors, who are willing to toe their line. Since most of the life-saving drugs are not available in the medical centres, patients and their families are forced to procure them from the open market with all hazards. In certain cases, it has been found that such sub-standard drugs also find their way into the government-run medical centres and hospitals and reach the gullible patients. In the process, the drug authorities in the state, which are supposed to regulate and check the sale and distribution of medicines and drugs, have utterly failed in performing their duties. As a result of the carelessness on the part of the authorities, there is no count of how many people have been affected due to spurious drugs. The government needs to wake up from its deep slumber and formulate a proper drug policy at the earliest to save precious lives of its people. Apart from this, some of the medicines and drugs being manufactured and sold by the multi-national companies in the country have raised their prices in connivance with the officials of the central government which allowed them to market and sell their products without any regulation. In fact, the central government has de-regulated hundreds of medicines and drugs from the jurisdiction of the autonomous bodies which have been keeping a check on the prices and quality of the drugs sold in the Indian market during the past three years. It appears that some of these medicines and drugs have been de-regulated by the central government under pressure from the western countries which have been pressing hard and lobbying in India for a pretty long time. This has given the drug companies a handle to fix prices of their products as per their whims and fancies and with an eye on higher profits from the Indian markets. Since majority of these drugs and medicines are patented products of some select multi-national companies, they want to cash in higher profits from Indian consumers. The central government appears to have fallen prey to these machinations of the multi-national companies and selling the life-saving drugs at their own rates in the Indian markets. After de-regulation, prices of these life-saving medicines have increased manifold hitting vast majority of the Indian population which have been benefitting from regulation by the central government organizations. Some of the medicines and drugs have witnessed ten-fold rise in their prices besides the artificial demand created by the drug companies through their network so that they can get away with their own machinations. Several medicines have also been sold and distributed through the government owned corporations so that the poor people and common masses in India are saved from being fleeced by the private drug companies. After de-regulation of these drugs and medicines, the central government and several states in the country have not announced their plans to procure life-saving drugs for distribution to patients who reports to hospitals and healthcare centres for treatment. This phenomenon is having a bad impact on the health of the poor patients, who cannot afford to purchase medicines from the open market.