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Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Free Drug Delivery Failed at the Ukhrul District Hospital

Free Drug Delivery Failed

Sir,
It is more than evident that the government’s initiative to provide free medicines to the rural poor who cannot afford the escalating costs of medications on the market has miserably failed to deliver the goods in Ukhrul district. A case in point is the complete failure of the Free Drug Counter opened at the Ukhrul District Hospital which is supposed to be the only one of such in the whole of the district.

Although the said counter has been opened for quite sometime now, the public is yet to reap any benefits out of it since the same does not stock or give out any prescription medicines for reasons best known to themselves. So much so that the openinig of this very counter has been rendered meaningless for the general public.

We know that that in every system of working/service, temporary or occasional lapses are bound to occur and cannot be totally ruled out. But what do we say when a service regularly fails to be of use? This seems to be the case with the counter in question. Little wonder then, that they invariably  fail to provide even one out of 4/5 medicines on the prescription and the same prescribed by doctors of the District Hospital too. And with none bothering to go into the whys and wherefores, this manner of functioning has woefully become the done thing rather than the exception. As it is, walking up to the counter and showing prescription has proved to be a sheer waste of time for many a visitor. Instead, one has to buy all the medicines from the Chemist thereby incurring huge expenses even as free medicines provision is officially in place. In fact, if the so called Free Drug Counter was supposed to render any service to the public, the time is almost overdue.

On the other hand, if rumours are to be believed, then there is no shortage of medicines (read available under the counter) for some people who are well connected with members of staff and that too without the necessary prescription. Considering this sorry state of affairs, isn’t it time the public sit up and raise questions as to whether the provision of free drugs is for the needy common man or for the previledged few only? Or is the Free Drug Counter only for namesake?

All in all, it is a sad reflection on the overall functioning/administration of the Ukhrul District Hospital which has been in the news for the wrong reasons all these years. On their part, the authorities would do well to get their acts together and geared towards streamlining the service of free medicines provision through the Free Drug Counter among many other things. This will go a long way in improving to some extend the strained image of the hospital as well.

Yours faithfully,
Rehoboam Lester Makang,
Hamleikhong-C, Ukhrul.

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Off The Shelves! Belatedly, the govt bans risky medicines

Danger List…

  • Gatifloxacin: An antibiotic used for treating respiratory tract infections. Can cause diabetes.
  • Tegaserod: Used for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Cisapride: Used to increase motility in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Can cause serious cardiac problems.
  • Phenylpropanolamine: Decongestant that can also increase the risk of stroke
  • Human Placental Extract: Used for cosmetic skin treatments and female infertility. It can transmit diseases.
  • Sibutramine: Constituent of weight-loss pills. Said to cause heart problems.
  • lR-Sibutramine: Also a weight-loss medicine. Increases the chances of stroke and heart problems.
  • Nimesulide: Painkiller and antipyretic. Harmful to the liver.

***

In the last six months, the Union health ministry has suddenly adopted a proactive tack to banning drugs. After facing quite a lot of criticism internationally for the easy availability in India of suspect medicines—including drugs that have been banned abroad for many years—the ministry has come down heavily on the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to enforce bans and ensure that chemists do not stock or sell dangerous drugs.

In February, the ministry banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of gatifloxacin and tegaserod. The decision was taken on the Drug Technical Advisory Committee’s (DTAC) recommendation. Gatifloxacin is an antibiotic used for respiratory infections and is said to cause diabetes. Tegaserod is used for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, but is said to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In November last year, the drug controller announced a ban on weight-loss medication containing sibutramine and R-sibutramine, which are known to cause strokes. Several medical products containing the two drugs have been under the scanner but no action was taken until recently. One major problem with such products was that they were available without prescription.

India has been rather slow in banning drugs that have gone off the shelves abroad after research showed they were harmful. Nimesulide (paediatric), for instance, has been banned internationally, but health officials in India maintained that its use had shown no adverse effects in Indian children. It’s only after 10 years of safety assessment studies that it was finally banned this year. In all likelihood, the ministry has managed to fight off pressure mounted by pharmaceutical lobbies. “It is our responsibility to ensure that safe medicines are sold in the country,” says a senior health ministry official. “Even if it has taken a long time to come into effect, it’s never too late to take corrective steps.”

But not everyone is satisfied with the ministry’s actions. “The ban on several drugs has come under generic names but often the brand names are very different. Sometimes they are a combination or formulation of drugs, and this makes it difficult for doctors and consumers to know if they are banned,” says Dr Mira Shiva, a public health activist. “The ministry needs to make the names of these brands public and create more awareness. Otherwise the entire purpose is defeated.”

Earlier this week, the DCGI announced it has temporarily stopped giving marketing approval to new drugs in key therapeutic segments. The approvals will resume once a new approval system, in which the opinion of a 10-member panel of independent experts is taken into account, is streamlined. New drug advisory committees (NDACS) will be constituted for each therapeutic category, such as gastroenterology, oncology, urology etc. The committees will advise DCGI on both new drugs and on clinical trials of categories of medicines like antibiotics. India had approved 223 new drugs (including new combinations of already approved drugs) in 2010. There were 32 new drug approvals in January-March this year.

The new NDACS and the refusal of the ministry to approve drugs banned internationally may not go down well with pharmaceutical companies. But doctors and health ministry officials say it will be in the larger interest of the people. Patients can rest a bit more assured about their medication.

Source: The Outlook

Categories: Articles, health, News Tags: ,

Anti-Anxiety drug to be banned in India

Anti-Anxiety drug to be banned in India
Nikita CNN-IBN | 16-May 07:2 AM Mumbai:
The government is planning to ban a popular Anti-Anxiety drug that has been
commonly used in India for over a decade. The drug is used without any clinical trials and despite the fact it is banned in several other countries.
TIME magazine describes this decade as the “Age of Anxiety” and 4 out of 10 Indians suffer from anxiety related disorders according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The Health Ministry is considering a ban on the commonly-used anti-anxiety drug Deanxit, for potential addiction and because it can
sometimes provoke suicidal thoughts and nightmares.
Psychiatrist, Bombay Hospital Dr Sharita Shah, said “In India, its not just psychiatrists who are using it, there are a lot of other doctors, like the GP,
cardiologists, everyone prescribes it. So, it is popular, and patients also tend to overdose, once you write a prescription, the patients tend to take the drug on their own, and dont come back to the doctors.”
Deanxit enjoys a Rs 35 crore annual market in India itself. But what is disturbing, given
those serious side-effects is that India is one of the few countries to even allow its usage.
Deanxit is banned for use in the country of its origin, Denmark. The US FDA, Drug
Authorities in UK , Canada, Australia or Japan , have not approved this drug either. For such a drug, no clinical trials were carried out in India.
Taking note of these points, the Health Ministry has NOW setup a panel of medical
experts to probe the side effects of this drug. But the bigger question is, who is responsible for the health of those patients who took this medicine for all this while?
Drug Expert, Editor MIMS Dr CM Gulati said Why on Earth did the DCGI approve it? What were they thinking? Plus it is highly immoral and unethical on the drug company’s part to sell a drug in India, which is banned in its country of origin!
So, two major violations took
place here. A word of advice for patients
on this medication, please do
check with your doctor for
substitutes.

Categories: health, News Tags: , , ,