Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela
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Consumer groups hold consultations 
to tackle spurious drugs

     The country’s pharma industry might be the third largest in the world in terms of volume and 14 in terms of value but Indian medicines carry the “sub-standard” tag in the international market.   This perception has been gaining ground, but that is not true, asserted Sri Bejon Misra, Founder, Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India, while welcoming the delegates to the National Consultation on Consumer Right to Safe and Quality Healthcare.  He also urged consumers to make use of The PSM India toll free helpline 1800-11-4424, to bring cases of spurious drugs or overcharging of drugs to the notice of the authorities

     The event was organized by the PSM, at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, on 2nd February, as a part of the Celebrations to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Consumer Protection Law in India.

     Sri D.Sridhar Babu, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Government of Andhra Pradesh, who inaugurated the Consultations, stressed on the need for ensuring easy accessibility of good quality medicines to the poor at affordable price.  He also pointed out the various initiatives taken by his Government to safeguard the interests of the consumers.

     Sri K Subbi Reddy, Regional Director, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council, wanted the consumers to play an active role to curb the menace of spurious drugs.  He said that section 26 of the Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Act has empowered the consumers.  Any individual suspicious of the quality of any drug can get it analysed in a government laboratory.  The consumer will be reimbursed the charges and will even be awarded if the drug was found to be adulterated or spurious.  There is also a ‘Whistle Blower’ scheme to curb the spurious drugs.  The percentage of substandard drugs was only 2 per cent in the state when compared to 11 per cent in the country over the last 5 years...and the percentage of spurious drugs in the market amounted to only 0.2 per cent in the state compared to the national average of 0.4 per cent over the last 5 years, explained Sri Subbi Reddy.

     Dr Praful Naik, Chief Scientific Officer, Bilcare Technologies Ltd, called for the usage of ‘Track and Trace technology’ to counter supply of spurious drugs. The Pune-based company claimed to have invented a solution for prevention of duplication using a unique ID which even the inventor cannot duplicate. According to Dr Naik, the technology is being used in defence and other high-security sectors and can be made available for pharmaceutical sector as well without any added cost. 

     According to B.Vaidyanathan, Chief Mentor, Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela, Indian health infrastructure matched only the sub-Saharan countries.  One of the important requirements for a quality healthcare is Health Insurance, to take care of exigencies.  But only 11 per cent of Indians were covered under Health Insurance and around 25 per cent had access to quality healthcare. He blamed the lack of seriousness among all concerned.   He strongly felt that Quality Healthcare cannot be ensured without proper recourse, if required, to grievance redressal. 

     Representatives of consumer groups, government agencies and trade and industry participated in the day long deliberations.


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