Confusion over Restriction on Sale of Scheduled H1 Drugs
By Arun Jayan | Published: 17th April 2014 09:13 AM |
There is confusion among patients as well as chemists in the state regarding the sale of scheduled H1 drugs after the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry brought in amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940, placing 46 drugs in the restricted category.
A list of 46 antibiotics, including anti-TB medicines and psychotropic drugs, have been included in the notification, which came into effect on March 1, to prevent pharmacies from selling them over the counter.
What has led to the confusion is the initial notification which necessitated that the chemist should retain a copy of the prescription for these drugs. ‘’Many chemists are demanding that the customer should produce a photocopy of the prescription for scheduled H1 drugs which is causing us much hardships. Frequenting the drug store itself is a tiresome task for my age, adding to it is the demand from the pharmacies for a photocopy of the prescription,’’ said
76-year-old Gopinathan Nair, a heart-patient. However, Drugs Controller P Hariprasad told ‘Express’ that though the photocopy of the prescription was made mandatory in the draft notification, it was changed later and a chemist can sell 46 drugs in the category on production of a valid prescription from a medical practitioner.
‘’Photocopy is not needed but a chemist should maintain a separate register for these 46 drugs in which the name of the patient and the details of the doctor who prescribed the drug will be noted. The notification was issued as an attempt to curb rampant misuse of new generation antibiotics. As it may lead to antibiotic resistance, particularly in the case of TB,’’ Hariprasad said.
When pointed out that many individuals such as Gopinathan Nair were misinformed by the pharmacists, who themselves seem to be in the dark regarding the actual steps to be followed in the sale of scheduled H1 drugs, the Drugs Controller said that the Department had already taken steps to give awareness classes to the chemists across the state.
The list of 46 drugs includes 24 antibiotics, 11 anti-TB and 11 psychotropic drugs. All Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association secretary Shaiju Abraham said that although the new notification was issued with good intention its implementation was causing problems for the chemists.
‘’The regular customers are turned away for not having prescription which is up-to-date. Even ointments are included in the list and the pharmacists are asked to maintain a register for this. While it is mandatory that the prescription should be hand-written, mentioning the exact quantity of drug to be dispensed and valid for just one purchase, this is not followed many a time by the doctors,’’ he added.