Monday, 6 February, 2023

Illegal drug stores— dangerous!

We are worried reading the piece of news that over one lakh drugstores out of a total of 250,000 across the country are not registered with the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA). Though the figure is confirmed by DGDA Director General, the real number of illegal medicine shops will surely be much more because drug stores spring up across the country with only trade license without paying attention to the regulations of the drug administration and many shops sell medicine taking license for other business. Given the style of the medicine business and its impact, it is for sure that we are heading to another pandemic that will be more catastrophic than the coronavirus epidemic.

These pharmacies running without any trained pharmacists or ensuring proper medicines storage environments are known to be selling high-power antibiotics, banned, counterfeit, date-expired and substandard drugs, including narcotics, without a doctor's prescription. Because of their greedy attitude, anyone can buy antibiotics without prescriptions, even many quacks and medicine shop workers suggest antibiotics to patients without necessary diagnosis. Consequently, these pharmacies emerge as one of the factors behind the misuse of antibiotics and other drugs, which is the main reason for an increasing number of patients’ antimicrobial resistance in the country. Because of the illegal business of these people, on one hand, the government is being deprived of huge revenue and the patients have to face severe health consequences, including fatalities, on the other.

However, it is beyond anyone’s understanding how these dispensers are conducting their business for years without facing any legal barriers. Though we sometimes hear about taking stern action against these dispensers, we hardly see the authorities translating their words into action. However, such a situation cannot go on for long. The authorities concerned must take the issue seriously, and the culprits who are jeopardising public health with a view to sustaining their business must face the music. At the same time, public awareness programmes should be conducted so that nobody buys medicine without doctors' prescriptions.