Nearly half of the people who participated in a national survey admitted to buying drugs from pharmacists without prescription, revealed a study conducted by Consumer Online Foundation, a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The findings added that 36% of the respondents bought medicines without bills.
The survey was conducted over a period of six months, in which 4,600 people participated.
“Buying medicines without prescriptions leads to self-medication and poses a big risk to public health,” said Bejon Misra, the founder of the NGO.
He added that selling medicines without bills could pose concerns of fake medicines, circulating in the market. “If these medicines are not billed, how is the governing body going to be able to trace manufactures?” he added.
The recent actions taken by state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against many city chemists is a testimony to illegitimate practices followed by pharmacies.
“Between April and May this year, we cancelled 13 licenses and suspended 55 licenses of chemist strores which were found to be selling drugs without prescription and bills,” said BR Masal, joint commissioner (drugs), FDA.
“Antibiotics were the most frequently sold drugs without prescription as compared to habit-forming drugs such as sleeping pills, which fall under schedule H,” BR Masal added.
According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1945, drugs under Schedule H cannot be bought without a prescription from a doctor.
Abhay Kumar, president, Indian Pharmacists Association, said, “The results are alarming. There is a need for more people in the law enforcing agency like the FDA to be more vigilant of these practices.”