Odisha orders crackdown on over-the-counter sale of prescription-only drugs

Bolangir: In a crackdown on sale of medicines without prescriptions, Odisha government has given orders to constitute squads and conduct raids to curb such practice.

In the absence of awareness on deadly consequences of buying prescription-only drugs over the counter, such illegal practice is rampant and posing a serious threat.

According to sources, most of the medicine shops in Bolangir are selling medicines without doctor’s prescription.

“Doctors are not present all the time to write prescriptions so patients and their kin go directly to the shops and ask for medicines. Shopkeepers also don’t hesitate to give them medicines,” a resident, Jitendria Tripathy said.

Another resident Dibyashankar Patnaik said “It is difficult to get an appointment with doctors these days, so most people prefer to go to the shops and ask for medicines.”

Despite being aware that sale of medicines without prescription is illegal; shopkeepers are blatantly violating the norms.

“We don’t have any official order preventing us from giving medicines without prescriptions. So we are selling them except for those medicines used in critical cases,” a shopkeeper Vivek Goyal said.

According to sources, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) reportedly brought the issue to the notice of the Odisha Health Department.

Health department secretary, Pramod Kumar Meherda has written a letter to the Drugs Controller and has urged action against errant shopkeepers.

The letter mentions the deadly consequences of consuming medicines with a detailed note: “The Serious Problem of Availability of Prescription Medicines without a Prescription in India & Possible Solutions.”

Further, in the letter, the Drugs Controller has been requested to start a state-wide drive to sensitize common people about the dangers associated with consumption of medicines without a valid prescription.

It has also urged the government to form squads at district level and conduct raids.

Responding to the issue, Drugs Controller, Hrushikesh Mohapatra has said that proper action will be taken against such illegal acts.

“First awareness meetings will be held. Then, inspections will be carried out and violations will be reported,” said Mohapatra.

Mohapatra further added that the drug sellers will be served show-cause notices and after getting their replies, hearing will be done and subsequently their licenses will be cancelled.

 

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