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Time to stamp out fake medicine

Published : 24 Jul 2020 10:50 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 05:42 PM
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The government must maintain strict vigilance on medicine shops and wholesale markets across the country to stop the sale of fake, illegal and outdated life-saving drugs, experts say.

Public health experts mentioned that even well-known model pharmacies are also on the list of those selling adulterated, substandard drugs and products. 

Mentioning the cause behind this, they pointed to lack of accountability is the key point sale of facsimile drugs.

A public health professor at a private university, Ariful Chowdhury warned that the market for adulterated and expired drugs is getting bad, and thus increasing health risks.

“In recent times, Rapid Action Battalion has seized large quantities of fake drugs and medical kits from reputed pharmaceutical stores in Dhaka. I would suggest that consumers buy their daily drugs more cautiously, and the drug administration be stringent in operations to ensure safe drugs.”

According to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) official website, there are 1,19,714 licensed pharmacies in the country so far, of which 34,844 have renewed licences, while the remaining 84,870, which is 71 per cent of the total licenses, have not been renewed till now.

As a result, stockpiling, displaying and selling drugs in these stores will be considered a punishable offense under the 1946 Drugs Rules.

A report of the DGDA mentioned that it is responsible for only the licensed drug stores across the country. Apart from this, the current unlicensed shops stats could be two to two and a half times more than the licensed figures.

It is mandatory to renew the drug license of a retail or wholesale store every two years. If it is not renewed within the stipulated time, there is an opportunity to renew with a late fee. But the traders are not renewing their licenses even after years.

Zakir Hossain Rony, former director of the Bangladesh Chemist and Drug Association, said, many pharmacies are conducting business unlicensed and with expired licenses due to the weakness of the concerned monitoring agency. Counterfeit medicines and essential items are being sold in these stores.”

He continued, ‘Action should also be taken against the reputable drug companies whose drugs produce counterfeit meds.”

The expert recommended that a task force is necessary to prevent these irregularities and corruption to save the health sector and the pharmaceutical industry.”