April 07, 2006, Kolkata, Press Release

Rational practices in the sectors relating to health care facilities of our country are being affected by different socio-economic factors. So, in every stage of providing the services in this sectors each stakeholders have to make certain degree of compromise, which ultimately jeopardizing the health sector of our country. This assertion has been made in a panel discussion on “Rational Use of Drug: Are Doctors Alone Responsible”, organized by Consumer Unity & Trust Society, Calcutta Resource Centre (CUTS-CRC) on April 7, 2006, at the Seminar Hall of Birla Planetarium, Calcutta, to celebrate the World Health Day.

Dr. Abhijit Hazra, Department of Pharmacology, IPGMER, SSKM Hospital, mentioned different stakeholders like society, government, pharmacy companies and highlighted their role in the entire system of health care. He emphasized that the stakeholders should work freely so that they can provide the best possible service. But many times they work under certain pressure, which affects the efficiency of them and the health sector as well.

Mr. P.R.Ghosh, Registrar of the Pharmacy Council mentioned that in US one lakh ten thousand people die every year due to side effects of different medicines. So, in India where there is little awareness among the people on the issue, the situation can be well understandable. He mentioned that 70% of Indians cannot afford drug and the rest who can purchase; most of the cases buy the drugs which are not very rationally used. He explained that in many medicine shops of both urban and rural areas, the trained pharmacists are not present, and this can not be properly inspected by the Pharmacy Council, since they are lacking proper infrastructure.

Dr. Krishnangshu Ray, Vice Principal, R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, opined that prescription auditing is the most integral part of health care and in our country it is the most neglected area in the system. He also mentioned that the pharmacy companies are producing the drugs, which are not essential but profitable when come into the market. According to WHO regulation that in 80% cases, there should not be more than 4/5 drug in a prescription, but as he pointed out that this guideline is being violated in most of the cases.

The workshop was attended by many NGOs working in health issues and many other health professionals. They highlighted their experience and opined that the WHO’s slogan to “Work Together for Health” can not be implemented unless all the stakeholders in the sector are sensitized enough to deliver their responsibilities.