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Himanta has no control over medicines: ARPA

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Dec 2016 12:00 AM GMT

‘People are killed in the State more by faulty medicines than by militants’

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 9: The Association of Registered Pharmacist, Assam (ARPA) has said that State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has no control over medicines and fake pharmacies of the State. It has also asked the minister as to what change he has been dreaming in the health sector when he has no control over medicines, the keys of public health.

Addressing the press at Dispur Press Club here today, ARPA general secretary Sofiur Rahman Khan said: “The entire pharmaceutical sector in the State is at the hands of capitalists and fake pharmacists who could thrive at the blessings of a section of officials in the Health Department and the Assam Pharmacists Council (APC). The racket has pushed the people of the State towards a dangerous situation. The State Health Minister has failed to do anything worthwhile to bring the situation under control. He has no control over medicines and fake pharmacies.”

Khan said: “Till March 12, 2015 from 2010, the APC did file as many as 754 cases against fake pharmacies at Dispur Police Station. However, the case hasn’t been pursued. An ARPA delegation also met DGP Mukesh Sahay and then Guwahati Police Commissioner Mukesh Agarwala, but to no avail. As we know, the DGP did entrust a police officer to pursue the cases. The police officer, for reasons best known to him and the department, did precious little. Around 3,000 fake pharmacies are doing business illegally in the State. If the minister has no control over medicines, keys to public health, what has he been dreaming for a change in the health sector?”

Khan further said: “Restricted Premises (RPs) are the other glaring examples of illegal business in the health sector in the State. RPs are not allowed to sell all drugs, but they sell all. On request from the ARPA on July 19, 2016 the State Joint Health Director directed the cancellation of the licenses of all RPs violating rules and detection of all RPS of the State through GPS. However, the Drug Control Department has failed to do anything worthwhile as yet. People are killed in the State more by faulty medicines than by militants.”

According to Section 42 of the Pharmacies Act, 1948, Khan said, every pharmacy should have a pharmacist. “However, 99 per cent of pharmacies in the State are without pharmacists. Even the pharmacies located in the GMCH complex, Hengrabari, Hatigaon, Ganeshguri, Kharguli, Paltan Bazar, etc., have no pharmacists. On March 9, 2015, the Gauhati High Court did ask the State Government to take action illegal pharmacies, to stop pharmacies without pharmacists and to act against pharmacies violating rules.”

According to Khan, there is a Central scheme – Jan Oushadhi. Under this scheme, the poor get all life-saving medicines at 80 per cent reduced prices, whatever high the prices of the medicines may be. “However, for reasons best known to Dispur, the scheme has not been implemented in Assam,” he said.

The ARPA demanded of the department to make all pharmacies in the State online under the Modi Digital India, identify the 3,000 fake pharmacies, cancel the licenses of RPs selling all medicines like pharmacies, implement the Section 42 of the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and the Pharmacy Practice Regulation Act, 2015 in the State and legal action against the fake pharmacies.

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