October 01, 2005, Kolkata, Press Release

“Fever is but a symptom, not a disease in itself”. Do you stop taking medicine/s once the fever subsides? Do you realise that by doing so, the disease gets suppressed temporarily and your body develops immunity towards the drug? There is a singular lack in India of awareness on this and other such issues. The ‘rationality’ in drug use from the consumer’s (patient’s) standpoint would include mundane – yet important – premises such as, awareness on drug interactions with certain foods and other drugs, proper methods of storage of medicines, hazards of self-medication, etc.

A ‘Training of Trainers’(ToT) workshop organised by Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), Calcutta Resource Centre, with support from the WHO India office and the office of the Drugs Controller General (India), was held at the Ramkrishna Mission, Gol Park, today to spread awareness on these issues. CUTS has prepared a ‘Patient Information Manual’ (PIM) in collaboration with and vetted by eminent medical and drug personalities such as Dr Krishnangshu Roy, Jt. Director, Medical Education, WB, Dr Pranabesh Chakraborty, Principal, Gupta College of Technological Sciences and others.

In the workshop, Dr Chakraborty and Mr P.R. Ghosh, Registrar, WB State Pharmacy Council explained to the trainers the concept of Rational Use of Drugs (RUD). Mr. Pradyout Biswas, Asst. Director of Drugs Control, WB discussed how the PIM can be used as a basic tool in the training.

This ToT workshop was the second phase of a three-tier campaign on RUD. In the first phase, the PIM, followed by posters and a short audiovisual skit was developed. In the third stage, through Public Interface, these trainers would, in turn, spread the word in their own communities, hopefully leading to a cascading effect. This initiative is being conducted in eight states of India besides West Bengal.

The inaugural session of the workshop was graced by Dr Jayashree Mitra, Director of Medical Education, Govt of WB, Dr Santanu Tripathy, Vice Principal & Superintendent, S. S. K. M. Hospital and others. A report on “Medicine Prices and Affordability in West Bengal”, prepared from a survey conducted jointly by CUTS and Community Development Medicinal Unit (CDMU), Kolkata, was released by Dr Mitra. The survey was carried out in 26 government hospitals and 35 private pharmacies in seven districts of West Bengal. The survey revealed the dismal availability of essential medicines in government hospitals.