26 March 2011
Mirror does a test drive of 10 chemist shops to check the availability of banned drugs in the city. Five shops were found selling the medicines openly while the rest were well-informed
The Indian Drug Manufacturers Association has obtained a stay from the Madras High Court till March 28, 2011 seeking a review of the side effects and case studies of the banned drugs. However, these drugs are still being prescribed by doctors and sold by chemists due to lack of awareness in the city.
Pune Mirror conducted a test drive to check whether the banned medicines are available with chemists. Our reporter visited 10 chemists’ shops and asked for the banned drugs. All these medicines fall under the Schedule H drug category, which indicates that they can be sold on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner only. To our surprise, of the 10 chemists, five sold these drugs over the counter and did not even bother to ask for a prescription. They were unaware of the banned list of medicines published by the health ministry last week. However, the remaining five chemists were well-informed and refused to sell the medicines.
The reporter first went to a chemist shop in Kothrud to buy Nimesulide tablets and got them easily. The next stop was Manav Chemist Shop on Bhandarkar Road where she asked for Sibutramine formulated tablets. Here too, the chemist did not ask for a prescription or the name of the doctor.
Similar was the scene at Sassoon General Hospital’s 24/7 medical store where she got the Gatifloxacin tablets without any trouble. The pharmacist was totally unaware of the banned drug. Chemist shops on Jangli Maharaj Road and in Boat Club area too were found to be unaware of the banned medicines.
However, in Rasta Peth and on Tilak Road, the chemists refused to sell the tablets. Navbharat Chemist in Rasta Peth asked for a prescription and refused to sell the medicine saying that the stock has been kept aside as per the instructions of the Chemist Association.
Dev’s Medicals on Tilak Road too refused to give the banned tablet Phenylpropanolamine and suggested that the reporter tell the doctor the drug has been banned.
Similarly, chemist shops on Fergusson College Road and Jehangir Hospital pharma also refused to give Tegaserod and Cisapride saying they have been banned by the government.
Dr Dilip Sarda, former chief of Indian Medical Association (IMA) told Pune Mirror, "It is surprising that the Madras High Court has given a stay order on the banned medicines, which have adverse effects on patients. The government should immediately remove the stock of such medicines."
Mahendra Pitaliya, coordinator of Chemist Association told Mirror, "At present, we are following the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines while selling these drugs. The high court had given a stay order for 15 days. We are waiting for its next order and have already informed chemists through circulars and SMSes. However, the level of awareness is still low."
Banned Drugs Available in:
Kothrud, Bhandarkar Road, Sassoon Hospital, Jangli Maharaj Road, Boat Club Road
Well-Informed Chemists in:
Rasta Peth, Tilak Road, Fergusson College Road, Jehangir Hospital, NDA Road
Banned Drugs & Side Effects
- NIMESULIDE: Nimesulide containing products are not permitted in several countries for children below 12 years. The drug has been considered to be Hepatotoxic and children are considered more susceptible to it.
- CISAPRIDE: Use of this drug is reported to be associated with increased risk of serious cardiac arrhythmia.
- PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE: It is associated with the risk of hypertensive episodes like cardiac congestive failures and haemorrhage strokes.
- SIBUTRAMINE: Use of this drug is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
- R-SIBUTRAMINE: This drug is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
- GATIFLOXACIN: This antibiotic is known to shoot up and also dip blood-sugar levels. It is known to cause heart movement abnormality.
- TEGASEROD: It is used for irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation. The drug shows a 10-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The most popular Indian name of this drug is Ibsinorm and Tegibs.