Punjab chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) for health and family welfare Navjot Kaur Sidhu on Monday accused the medical fraternity at large of having a nexus with pharmaceutical firms and chemists in order to fleece the poor patients across the state, and demanded that the government curb the menace on a priority basis.
"The doctors receive expensive gifts from pharmaceutical companies and commission from chemists and ultrasound centres," Sidhu said at a press conference.
The CPS, herself a doctor, said the doctors in government hospitals took direct commission for referring patients to private surgeons, ultrasound centres and pathological labs.
"I know 90% doctors are into this commission practice as I myself am a doctor," she said, adding that the generic drugs list should be displayed in all government hospitals as that would help break the nexus between state drug controllers and drug manufacturers.
Saying she did not know her exact powers as a CPS, Sidhu suggested a check on the sale of drugs without being prescribed by a qualified doctor and to assure the mandatory presence of a pharmacist at chemist shops.
"The drugs directly causing harm to patients are given by untrained persons, whereas the presence of a pharmacist is essential at a chemist shop," she said.
Midwives and health workers, she said, were directly giving drugs, causing abortions after the sex determination that was "still continuing in the state".
The CPS also suggested adequate number of drug inspectors for routine check on chemist shops and their record.
She also demanded a complete ban on tobacco to reduce the incidence of oral cancer in the state. The chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar had already banned tobacco, she said.
Sidhu also alleged that the funds meant for the poor cancer patients were not reaching them.