Srinagar: Over-pricing and sale of expired medicines by some chemists in Kashmir is going on unchecked, consumers alleged.
Muhammad Arif, a consumer from Srinagar alleged that a chemist shop had tampered the expiry date of a health device (Glucometer strips) used for testing of blood sugar by pasting a sticker on the pack of the device. “The actual expiry date of the strip pack was November 2021 but the chemist pasted the sticker on the device showing the expiry date as March 2022.”
“This is a big scandal which needs a thorough probe. Such practice can take toll on the health of patients,” Arif said.
Notably the department of drug controller is duty bound to regulate the chemist shops while the Legal Metrology Department (LMD) is required to check the surgical items and other health devices sold by the chemists.
“We have registered dozens of cases against the pharmaceutical shops for tampering with the price tags or expiry dates of the health devices or surgical items. In some cases, the fine was also imposed on the shop owner,” an official at LMD said.
He said the pricing of medicines is directly controlled by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India.
Earlier, the LMD had written to the office of the divisional commissioner Kashmir about the tampering of price and expiry dates of the health devices by private pharmaceutical shops.
“The divisional commissioner had also taken up the matter with NPPA but there was no update after that. The issue was not followed,” the official said. Meanwhile, Arshid Rasool, a customer from Srinagar complained: “I purchased a strip of 10 tablets of Denzo -12 in Jammu for Rs 195 but the same strip was sold to me for Rs 350 in Kashmir.”
Deputy Drug Controller, Irfana Shayiq when contacted, said that action will be taken against such pharmaceutical shops. “If you can share the details of the pharmaceutical shop we will conduct an inspection and take action against him for resorting to illegal practice,” she said.