The pharmaceutical companies are keeping the people in the dark about the details of the medicines they produce and sell to serve their commercial interest.
According to sources, the drug manufacturers resort to various manipulations to deceive the consumers and maximise the profit. To this end, they refrain from making any publicity campaign to inform the people about the details of the new medicines released on the market. The producers take the help of hide-and-seek policy to conceal the dishonest and unethical practices in the production and marketing of the medicines.In the opinion of the public health experts, the consumers have every right to know about the qualitative standard of the medicines, especially in view of the fact that the trend of manufacturing and sale of adulterated and spurious medicines is widespread in the country.
However, it is encouraging that the drug administration department has at long last been active in launching a publicity campaign about the medicines. In a meeting at the health ministry on May 10, the drug administration placed some recommendations which included arrangement for publication of advertisements in the print and electronic media stressing the need for creating awareness about proper use of medicines to stop wrong treatment.
Prof Dr Munir Uddin of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology at the Dhaka University said “It is surprising that the country’s pharmaceutical sector is still run on the basis of a 75 years old law. Only a fine of several lakhs of taka or imprisonment for a few days is awarded if a human being is killed due to consumption of spurious, adulterated or toxic medicines. But the punishment should be death sentence in such cases.”
National Professor Dr M R Khan said “If the generic name is used and publicity about OTC listed medicines is introduced, the sale of substandard medicines will be stopped and the prices of medicines will also fall as a result of competition between the manufacturing companies.”
Prof ABM Faruk of Dhaka University Pharmacy Faculty said the government has to be alert so that none can purchase any medicine not included in the OTC list without a physician’s prescription.
According to the medicine experts, the pharmaceutical companies release new medicines on the market in new names every year. But the consumers do not know about those. Managing the physicians, the companies are compelling the patients to take those drugs keeping them in the dark. This can happen for lack of any time-befitting and effective law or policy. The government should address this problem immediately.