Editorial | Make the erring pay

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One of the few issues that have been discussed in the media over many years, with good degree of focus, is the menace of spurious and fake drugs. The associated issues of malpractice by different sections of the healthcare departments in J&K have also come to fore while digging in to the stories related to the availability of such drugs in our region. But despite all this the problem persists and lives are getting affected. We might not ever come to know about the actual impact of the spurious drugs in J&K, in terns of specific statistics, but we can say with good degree of confidence that it is an enormous problem. Once again the problem has come into spotlight as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a show cause notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration for compensation to the families of 11 children who died due to consumption of spurious medicines in Udhampur district between December 2019 and January this year. This single event should shake the conscience of all the people who are associated with the manufacturing and trading of drugs.

It should also make our doctors think twice before committing the crime of promoting drugs that can cause harm to patients. In fact it won’t do us any good to generalise things as the majority of doctors perform their professional duties with dedication and honesty, but a minuscule number that resorts to such unscrupulous practices brings bad name to the entire community. So the point here is that the medical fraternity should form some kind of an independent vigilance mechanism to help weed out such wrong elements. At the same time the government must put in place some robust structure to nab the culprits and punish them. Not just that, the mechanism for compensating the affected should also be put in place. Those who have committed the wrong should be made to pay compensation to those who have finally suffered.  Unless we have laws and structures to implement them, people will keep suffering and the unscrupulous elements will keep feeding the the markets with spurious drugs.