What happened to drug policy?

Five years ago, the former government created a stir across the state by its much hyped New Drug Policy. Discussions were held with the chemists and the civil society members but the policy never came into force and the state continues to be flooded with spurious and sub-standard drugs. Jammu Kashmir got an award for best health care facilities. However, reports from ground paint a grim picture of the ailing healthcare system of the state. Not to speak of the drugs supplied in hospitals or sold in the market, the bandages in the state's only tertiary care hospital have been found sub-standard. The babus compromise with the quality of medicines and medical aid to earn a few bucks and nothing moves. There should be a system in place for purchase of drugs and medical equipment. Not only e-tendering, there must be somebody to check the quality of drugs/equipment supplied. Taking samples after delivery and coming out with reports after months of the purchase makes no sense. This also helps in institutionalizing corruption. Two years ago, the drug control officials lifted samples of many dressing items from SKIMS for analytical procedures. The drug department had also directed the SKIMS officials not to use the material till the analytical reports were furnished. But, instead of implementing the directive, the hospital authorities distributed all sub standard material among the patients. The purchase committee must have a senior officer from the Drug Control Department besides prominent and reputed members of the civil society. The analysis must be done at the time of purchase. In fact the purchases must be made only after the purchase committee gives consent. And, after giving consent, if any drug or equipment is found sub-standard, the members of the committee must be taken to task for compromising public health. The government launched a crackdown on unregistered and recognized chemists and druggists. However, the campaign was abandoned midway for unknown reasons. Secondly the practice of approving the tender of the lowest bidder must be abandoned at least as far as purchase of drugs is concerned. The administration has to wake up and do what it is supposed to do.

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Greater Kashmir