The sale of flood-soaked harmful medicine has emerged as new threat in the Valley post-September floods.The authorities have already sealed six medical shops in Srinagar for selling such drugs despite court orders banning them.
“For patients with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease, a flood-damaged dose of a crucial medicine like insulin or nitroglycerin can be life threatening. Some damaged antibiotics can cause severe stomach and kidney damage. Similarly, such seizure medicines and anticoagulants will prove harmful,” warned Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, president of the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK).
Doctors’ warning has come just days after the Jammu and Kashmir high court, while hearing a public interest litigation, directed the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, drug controller and health department to check the sale of flood-affected items.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and justice Ali Mohammad Magrey observed: “Gullible public should not be compelled to purchase the same and fall ill by its consumption.”
Srinagar municipal corporation (SMC) health officer Dr Rubeena Shaheen already closed down a leading medicine shop, Bindroo Brothers, for selling flood-damaged medicine. “Medicines and baby food were found flood affected. All should refrain from sale of such goods,” she said.
A team of officers of Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFCO) and SMC sealed five other medical shops for the sale of such medicines in Srinagar’s Iqbal Park and Karan Nagar areas.
“These establishments were forced to shut their operations forthwith till such time a satisfactory compliance report with respect to their hygienic condition and good trade practices is furnished by empowered inspectorate staff,” said a DFCO spokesman.
The DAK has demanded that the damaged medicines should be placed under quarantine until disposal and standard operating procedures should be in place to ensure that all medicines are correctly accounted for and are unavailable for sale. “The disposal of damaged medicines should be carried out under the supervision of authorised body as per guidelines,” said Dr Hassan.
Kashmir witnessed unprecedented floods in the first week of September and damaged medical shops and godowns.