HEALTH TRAGEDY: Druggists dump doctor prescription – least concerned about side effects – culpable homicide ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Raiganj, Nov. 3: Medicine shops in and around Raiganj change at will drugs prescribed by doctors for lack of proper monitoring by the authorities and absence of adequate trained pharmacists, posing serious threats to the life of patients.
“Doctors prescribe a particular medicine considering its side effect and patient’s past history. But if a shop does not have a particular medicine in stock, salespersons will change the prescription,” said Dhiman Pal, a doctor at the North Dinajpur district hospital and the assistant secretary of the district association of health service doctors.
“These salespersons don’t know what medicines they should give in case the prescribed ones are not available. They lack specialised knowledge and alter the prescription without considering the composition of the drug,” he said.
Citing an example , Pal said: “Suppose a doctor prescribes a patient suffering from gastric troubles a medicine consisting of pantoprazole and domperidom. An employee might be tempted to offer you a medicine keeping domperidom in tact and ignoring pantoprazole.” He said a wrong medicine might cause harm to the patient, instead of giving any relief.
According to government rules, each medicine shop must post a pharmacist holding either a degree or a diploma in pharmacology.
“Only they are authorised to change a medicine considering the composition and ratio. But only few medicine shops have pharmacists on their pay roll. We had lodged several complaints with the district health authorities. But there has been no remedy,” said Pal.
District magistrate Sunil Dandapat said the district drug control office, opened in Raiganj in September, faced acute shortage of staff. “We will crack down on medicine shops without trained pharmacists,” he said.
District secretary of the Bengal Chemists and Druggists’ Association Prashanta Kundu said there were more than 100 medicine shops in and around Raiganj.
“But there are hardly 20 to 25 trained pharmacists. As a result, we are often forced to retain part-time pharmacists who serve in different shops. The shopowners were advised to consult the pharmacists in case they needed to change a particular medicine. But I am not sure if all of them follow the instructions,” said Kundu.