Quackery begins at drug stores | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Quackery begins at drug stores

They belong to underprivileged section of society, yet they can be seen paying four times as the ‘doctor’s fee’. The catch is that the doctor in such cases can be mere a diploma holder in pharmacy, working at a drug store whose job is to sell drugs as per prescription.

punjab Updated: Jul 16, 2014 10:46 IST
Anshu Seth

They belong to underprivileged section of society, yet they can be seen paying four times as the ‘doctor’s fee’. The catch is that the doctor in such cases can be mere a diploma holder in pharmacy, working at a drug store whose job is to sell drugs as per prescription. The so-called doctors offer services from administering intravenous fluid therapy to dispensing medicines without the prescription of a qualified doctor. IV fluids are administered to treat dehydration.

As it happened, a woman working as domestic help in Urban Estate fainted due to low blood pressure and her husband took her to Singla Medical Hall, mistaking the owner of the hall to be a “doctor”. The owner of the drug store administered her two bottles of IV fluid and gave her handful of tablets thereby charging Rs. 700 for the same. He also dispensed a steroid for her son, who, she said, was suffering from some kind of inflammation on skin and charged Rs 300.

A medical practitioner when asked about the medicines dispensed was in for a shock as two tablets manufactured by different companies had same salt which amounts to “overdose”, which, he said, could be fatal.

Thereafter, the drug store owner called the woman again on the second day and administered another bottle of IV fluid and gave some more tablets. The bill for the same was Rs 400.

When this correspondent got to know about the whole episode took the domestic help to the drug store and asked the owner to give the bill of the medicines dispensed. The total cost of the tablets and glucose was Rs. 380, following which the drug store owner was at loss for words. He immediately returned the remaining amount to the poor woman but had no answer to the unethical practice he was indulging in.

A large number of chemists are involved in the abovementioned unethical practice, a blatant violation of the drugs and cosmetics Act and evasion of sales tax. Various areas including Giaspura, Tibba Road , Dugri –Dhandra Road, Fauji Colony, Shimlapuri and Dabba Road with large population of factory workers, domestic help and daily wagers have dozens of such drug stores where the owners with or without the licence of a pharmacist act as a “doctor” and freely dispense medicine at their will.

Worst still, many of these drug stores do not even have qualified pharmacists.
It is rather shocking that all this is happening right under the nose of the department of health and family welfare, which has failed to tighten the noose on the black sheep in the trade.

‘THIS CAN BE FATAL’
Dr Sandeep Puri, the medical superintendent at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), said that administration of medicines in absence of qualification amounts to quackery.
“Giving IV-fluids without knowing the cause and requisite dosage can lead to organ failure. Many a times, people with low blood pressure when administered excessive fluids end up having renal failures, thus this unethical practice should be checked,” Dr Puri went on to add.

CIVIL SURGEON PROMISES ACTION
Civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta, when contacted, said that he would immediately pass on the instructions for checking of drug stores. “We will not spare the guilty store owners and stringent action will be initiated,” Dr Batta added.




They belong to underprivileged section of society, yet they can be seen paying four times as the ‘doctor’s fee’. The catch is that the doctor in such cases can be mere a diploma holder in pharmacy, working at a drug store whose job is to sell drugs as per prescription. The so-called doctors offer services from administering intravenous fluid therapy to dispensing medicines without the prescription of a qualified doctor. IV fluids are administered to treat dehydration.

As it happened, a woman working as domestic help in Urban Estate fainted due to low blood pressure and her husband took her to Singla Medical Hall, mistaking the owner of the hall to be a “doctor”. The owner of the drug store administered her two bottles of IV fluid and gave her handful of tablets thereby charging Rs. 700 for the same. He also dispensed a steroid for her son, who, she said, was suffering from some kind of inflammation on skin and charged Rs 300.

A medical practitioner when asked about the medicines dispensed was in for a shock as two tablets manufactured by different companies had same salt which amounts to “overdose”, which, he said, could be fatal.

Thereafter, the drug store owner called the woman again on the second day and administered another bottle of IV fluid and gave some more tablets. The bill for the same was Rs 400.

When this correspondent got to know about the whole episode took the domestic help to the drug store and asked the owner to give the bill of the medicines dispensed. The total cost of the tablets and glucose was Rs. 380, following which the drug store owner was at loss for words. He immediately returned the remaining amount to the poor woman but had no answer to the unethical practice he was indulging in.

A large number of chemists are involved in the abovementioned unethical practice, a blatant violation of the drugs and cosmetics Act and evasion of sales tax. Various areas including Giaspura, Tibba Road , Dugri –Dhandra Road, Fauji Colony, Shimlapuri and Dabba Road with large population of factory workers, domestic help and daily wagers have dozens of such drug stores where the owners with or without the licence of a pharmacist act as a “doctor” and freely dispense medicine at their will.

Worst still, many of these drug stores do not even have qualified pharmacists.
It is rather shocking that all this is happening right under the nose of the department of health and family welfare, which has failed to tighten the noose on the black sheep in the trade.

‘THIS CAN BE FATAL’
Dr Sandeep Puri, the medical superintendent at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), said that administration of medicines in absence of qualification amounts to quackery.
“Giving IV-fluids without knowing the cause and requisite dosage can lead to organ failure. Many a times, people with low blood pressure when administered excessive fluids end up having renal failures, thus this unethical practice should be checked,” Dr Puri went on to add.

CIVIL SURGEON PROMISES ACTION
Civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta, when contacted, said that he would immediately pass on the instructions for checking of drug stores. “We will not spare the guilty store owners and stringent action will be initiated,” Dr Batta added.