Now, that was an unfair and callous behavior belted out by the chemist shops towards the cancer patients in Faridkot. The agonized patients were buying the cancer medicines at sky high rates from the chemists in the area. The moment this was bought to the notice of the authorities, they geared up and carried out surprise raids at these chemists, and discovered hordes of stacked “physician’s samples”, non experienced and unqualified salesmen, and irregular sales records.
Sky high rates of cancer medicines
The authorities were surprised by the large number of complaints regarding the chemists who were selling cancer medications at exorbitant rates in Faridkot. On Saturday, a team of drug officials from three districts, , Muktsar, Faridkot and Mansa, were authorized to cater to the complaints regarding the fleecing of the cancer patients. The media reports and the swindling complaints made by the suffering people prompted the health department to raid the shops inside the college.
The team quietly planned and organized raids at the chemist shops, near the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and hospital, at Faridkot. The team sprung a surprise on the only authorized chemist shop in the area by the name of Universal Chemists along with others.
The fears of the team were realized when they discovered a large number of “physician’s samples” hidden away in the shop. Out of the six shops that were raised 5 shops had a dearth of qualified persons who were dispensing the medicines. The medicine sale records of the shop owners do not tally and show a large number of irregularities.
Tejinder Singh, drug inspector, Faridkot, who was a part of the “raid” team was heard commenting “The civil surgeon’s office had received a complaint from the father of some cancer patients about overcharging for cancer drugs and issuing an alleged fake bill without prescription.”
He also said “We needed to check several things at the shop and called two more drug inspectors, from Mansa and Muktsar districts,” he added.
The shops that were providing cancer medicines to the people and the ones that were near the old and the new OPDs were included in the raid. It was found out that three of the shops in the premises of the hospital had a common owner. The Universal Chemists have a monopoly in the hospital premises as they run around 5 shops inside the campus.
Medicine boxes, strips and bottles mentioned higher rates. Let us take example of strips of Admine 400 that was available at Rs 500 in the markets but had Rs 3300 mentioned on the strip, in the shop. Are the chemists hand in glove with the doctors? This remains to be seen, as it’s the doctors who insist that the medicines are purchased from the shops.
Gurpreet Singh, a cancer society activist, was gravely concerned about this unfair deal “The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences had started providing cancer medicines on no-profit, no-loss basis at the cancer department last year. The authorities concerned also allowed the same chemist to sell cancer drugs who has already monopolized the drugs business inside the hospital.”
He insists that the hospital needs to take matters into its own hands and personally look into the dispensing of the medicines that should be at subsidized rates.