‘Restricted drugs being sold sans prescription’The Department of Drug Administration (DDA) has said that 30-40 percent of the drug stores in the country are selling restricted medicines without a prescription despite possible health hazards. despite possible health hazards.
The Department of Drug Administration (DDA) has said that 30-40 percent of the drug stores in the country are selling restricted medicines without a prescription despite possible health hazards. Similarly, a large number of pharmacies are operating without trained pharmacists.
DDA Director General Balkrishna Khakurel said a large number of unlicensed drug stores were doing business in the mornings and evenings and remaining closed during the daytime. “These stores have been doing so to escape market inspection that is done during office hours,” said Khakurel.
As per Drugs Act 1978, the penalty for running a pharmacy without a licence is a fine ranging from Rs25,000 to Rs300,000 and a jail term of up to three years.
Unlicensed medicine stores have been operating rampantly across the country, he said. About half of the 28,000 pharmacies in the country are illegal as per the department’s estimate. Khakurel said a number of medical institutes had been providing pharmacist licences profusely.
According to him, such institutes have been issuing certificates in return for money. “Many of the pharmacists that have received licences cannot even maintain proper records of medicinal products while a large number of them cannot even list the names of general medicines,” he said.
Khakurel accused customs officials of allowing the import of substandard medicines in return for a bribe. “The department has been requesting customs offices at the border points to prohibit the entry of such medicines. However, our request has remained unheard,” he said.
According to the DDA, a large number of drug stores have been selling their products by adding a profit margin of 200-300 percent. “Likewise, doctors are also found demanding a hefty commission from pharmaceutical companies in return for prescribing their products.”
Consumer rights activists have blamed the government for poor implementation of Joint Market Monitoring Directive 2012.
“Although the government enforced the directive five years ago, consumers have no idea that their rights are protected,” said Jyoti Baniya, president of the Consumers’ Welfare Protection Forum.
There should be a risk and hazard analysis to enforce the compensation provision, capacity building of monitoring officers, mandatory implementation of labeling and price lists on imported products and control of misleading ads to safeguard consumer rights, he said.
Consumer rights activists also expressed concern at the growing number of syndicates in the transportation sector, lack of cross-inspection of metric measuring tools, growing use of chemicals in food items and sales of contaminated water and milk, among others.
Consumer cell to receive complaints
KATHMANDU: The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has been planning to introduce new regulation requiring telecommunication service providers to enhance their service quality. Speaking at a programme on Wednesday, Kumar Shrestha, director of the NTA, said they had started work towards this end. According to Shrestha, they have set up a consumer cell to receive complaints from users. “We are launching a mobile app that makes it easy for customers to
file complaints online,” he said. (PR)