A Concept Of Dilemma Or Solution?
Samiul Azim :
About a week ago I went to a medicine company for collecting Erythropoeitin injection which is only obtainable by physicians' prescription. As a student of law I could not help but ask if it is legally applicable for every medicine? At the starting point I found something very horrific and the irony is that the same company is supplying the medicines to the pharmacy without prescription- which should- not be used without the proper directions - of a registered physician and those medicines are being exchanged without prescription in the medicine shops. This is not a new story in our country as paramount medicines are very much obtainable without prescription.
According to a report titled; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime -- Misuse of Prescription: A South Asia Perspective United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2011. According to the report the most abused main pharmaceutical drugs in Bangladesh are o Dexpotent, expotent (non codeine based cough syrups); o Diazepam, other sedatives; o Pethidine; o Pain killers; o Anabolic steroids.
And these abuses are very common because to collect this, since we do not need any prescription in order to collect these medicine. Some companies are stimulating that these medicines should be obtainable by physicians' prescriptions. They are doing this act like a crow who keeps his eye off when it steals food and thinks that nobody has seen it. This free market policy where companies are delivering medicines without taking any precautions creates a doubt in our mind that whether they are discouraging this mal practice or initiating this malpractice in an indirect way? In a country where literacy rate is not still up-to-the-mark and most of the people living in the rural areas without advance medical services; in most of the cases they depend on the medicine tradesman.
For this reason the medicine tradesmen of our area end up becoming the part time doctor or even sometime they become the full time doctor for the underprivileged people. This is nothing but an irony for us that where government is providing free medical service to the people but still people are depending on the medicine shop-keepers this is happening because of this mal practice. In fact, they are all quack doctors.
The worst situation is created when we find medicines in our nearest grocery shops it is also contradictory with section 30(2) of The Pharmacy Ordinance 1976 where it has been stated that whoever employs any pharmacist for the purpose of any business in pharmacy shall [cause] the certificate of registration of the pharmacist so employed to be displayed in a conspicuous place within the premises in which such business is carried on.
The government has also introduced the concept of model pharmacy. It has been clearly stated in the guidelines that
o Every Model Pharmacy will be managed or supervised under on-site by an A grade pharmacist registered by PCB
o Model Pharmacy dispensers must work under the on-site of an 'A' grade pharmacist (Pharmacist in Charge)
o Non-pharmaceutical personnel employed by the Model Pharmacy can be on the premises , but shall not keep the business open without a Pharmacist in Charge on the premises.
The government has adopted National Drug Policy 2005. In Sub section II of Section 6 in National Drug Policy 2005 it has been clearly stated that -- no drugs or medicine other than non prescription OTC, should be sold or dispensed without prescription.
These rules are giving guidelines on how medicines to be sold and who will be able to sell it. But we can see that when a mobile court conducts any inspection they give punishment if there is any medicine which expiry date is over or if there is any fake medicine. But there is a very little concern that whether the graduate pharmacist is available in the medicine shop.
Lastly I would like to conclude by saying that the government should be much stricter on this matter because in majority of model pharmacies there is a place for graduate pharmacist but in most of the cases they are unavailable in the premises. We must remember that medicine is a life-saving product. If it is not used properly than it will be life-threatening.
We must remember that everyone do not have the proper knowledge on the pharmaceuticals products and which product is for which disease. I must admit that there could be some flexibility for some medicines. A fairly judged system will make the process more pellucid. Otherwise we will become the audience of this well organized crime and life-threatening act. And the success of Model Pharmacy concept will remain in doubt.
(Samiul Azim, Student of Law, North South University)