IPA asks govt to take immediate measures to curb the menace of misuse of prescription drugs

Suja Nair ShirodkarMonday, March 30, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Concerned by the growing incidence of misuse of prescription drugs throughout the country, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) has asked the government to take immediate measures to curb the menace. It has asked the Centre to come out with short, medium and long term strategies to curb this problem in a phased manner with active involvement of all the stakeholders.

The IPA having already chalked out an action plan to tackle this issue recently proposed and offered its full support to work with the government. The Association pointed out that it can play a major role in educating pharmacists and the pharmacy staff on various aspects relating to drug use, which if done in partnership with the government can be taken to a higher level.

As per the Drugs & Cosmetics Act and Rules, the retail sale of certain medicines like Schedule H, Schedule X, Schedule H1 through pharmacies, medical stores, chemists and druggists can be done only against a valid prescription. Due to potential risk of side effects, habit forming, misuse, etc, these drugs are labelled with warning, which almost on all incidences are blatantly ignored.

The Association strongly feels that lack of effective regulatory implementation either due to insufficient regulatory officers to carry out routine inspections or the corrupt practices prevalent in the system has played a major role in the same.

Thus keeping in mind the current situation, IPA has urged the Centre to strengthen the regulatory mechanism, while at the same time create awareness about dangers of the same among the masses as well.  They insisted on having stringent punishments for those regulatory officers not discharging their duties, along side erring chemists and retail shops as well for breach of rules.  

While at the same time the association also pointed out that pro- active measure is also needed to be taken to regulate and curb the wrong use of online availability of drugs. IPA stressed that its campaign for awareness on responsible use of medicines also called CARUM, a public awareness can be made into a massive campaign with the involvement of the government and other stakeholders.

Sources informed that availability of prescription (Rx) medicines without the same is leading to not only irrational use of medicines in India but also increased medication errors, adverse drug reactions (ADRs), rise in morbidity and mortality, delays in diagnosis  and antimicrobial resistance and emergence of super bugs.