Amended drug, cosmetics law triggers anxiety among retailers

Doctor's prescription must for repeated usage

Amended drug, cosmetics law triggers anxiety among retailers

 The amended Drug and Cosmetics Act of India coming into effect from March 1 has put the retailers in a fix. The retailers can dispense 46 types of drugs listed in schedule H1, only once, and the doctor’s prescription is a must for repeated usage.

Raghavan, one of the retailers said that according to the Act, a prescription can be dispensed only once. “Until and unless the doctor specifies in writing that it can be dispensed more than once, it cannot be given again, he said, adding that prescription in other forms of communication like verbal, via telephone, fax, e-mail, SMS etc., shall not be entertained. 

The law also binds the retailers to make drastic changes in the form of maintaining the records pertaining to the sales of the afore mentioned types of drugs.

 The bill with information like the registered medical practitioner’s address, patient’s address and allied details will have to be maintained for a period of three years.The drugs included in the schedule H1 are- Alprazolam, Balofloxacin, Buprenorphine, Capreomycin, Cefdinir, Cefditoren, Cefepime, Cefatamet, Cefixime, Cefoperazone, Cefotaxime, Cefpirome, Cefpodoxime, Ceftazidime, Cefibuten, Ceftriaxone, Ceftizoxime,  Chlordiazepoxide, Clofazimine, Codeine, Cycloserin, Diazepam, Diphenoxylate, Doripenem, Ertapanem, Ethambutol Hyrdrochloride, Ethionamide, Feropenem, Gemifloxacin,  Imipenem, Isoniazid, Iecofloxacin, Meropenem, Midazolam, Moxifloxacin, Nitrazepam, Pentazocine, Prulifloxacin, Pyrizinamide, Rifabutin, Rifampicin, Sodium Paraaminosalicylate, Sparfloxacin, Thiacetazone, Tramadol and Zolpiderm. 

They can be classified as follows -- third and fourth generation antibiotics, habit forming drugs containing sleeping agents, and anti-tuberculosis. Though the intention of the Centre in preventing overdose of such medicines is appreciated, it should be put into motion only after taking the corrective steps, said the retailers.

People are used to over the counter drugs, without doctor’s prescription. 

The Act when implemented may trigger chaos among the buyers, while the retailers have to suffer losses. Also, upgradation of the existing software to maintain the records complying with the new norms has to be taken up. In case of any violation, the law stipulates the guilty to be fined or sent to imprisonment. Another pharmacist Javeed Khan termed it as a catch-22 situation, with retailers being put to test, instead of doctors. Khan said that it depends on the doctors who have to succinctly mention the patient’s name and required matters. If not, the retailers cannot sell the drugs, and the patients have to run from one shop to another to avail the medicines.DH News Service

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