In a bid to find solutions to the concept of ‘doctor shopping’ and over-the-counter drugs, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will be writing to all the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offices to collectively take measures to deal with the situation.
The current problems that the NCB is facing are related to medical stores in the country selling drugs without prescriptions at times.
The NCB had found that over-the-counter drugs were being chemically separated to extract ketamine and ephedrine — the latest party drugs — and then exported to other countries.
Former zonal director of NCB Yashodhan Vanage said, “In the US and European countries, the system is computerised and connects doctors, patients and chemists. A prescription can be used by a patient to buy the prescribed medicines only once. But in India, the same prescription can be used at various medical stores multiple times. This makes it easy to procure sedatives without much trouble.”
However, an officer from the vigilance department (drugs) of the FDA said that there is a provision in India under which chemists have to mention the date and time of when the prescribed drugs were delivered. “But this is not followed and we have started taking stringent action against manufacturers and medical stores,” the officer said.
An NCB officer said it is either due to ignorance or in connivance with some gangs that some pharmacies give them cough syrups and painkillers, from which they later process ketamine and ephedrine and convert them to methamphetamine.
Trying to computerise everything in India will be a lengthy process. However, taking the prescription away once the medicine is given to the patient will help in bringing about a change.