TT:Why do you want stores to stop selling drugs manufactured by reputable companies?
Sinha: Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013, which came into effect on July 29, 2013, lowered prices of 348 essential drugs to make them affordable. Then, many MNC manufacturers cut wholesale and retail commission from 10 and 20 per cent to 8 and 10 per cent, respectively. We wrote to such firms to restore our commission to previous levels. Or else, drugstores in Jharkhand would stop selling their brands
Wonít this hit the availability of life-saving drugs?
Not at all. There are many manufacturers of such drugs. If a drug manufactured by one pharma company is not available, a host of similar drugs from other branded firms will be
Are you demanding a hike in dealer commission?
We have simply protested against cuts in our commission. Drug makers enjoy a profit margin between 100 to 300 per cent. Our commission has stayed fixed for the past 15 years though our overheads have gone up
News reports indicate your association has asked dealers not to sell medicines whose prices have been reduced by DPCO.
We have merely protested against arbitrary reduction of commission
You said you wrote to multinational pharma companies. Any result?
A number of MNCs have written to us, saying reduction in commission would be rolled back.
There are reports of spurious drugs being sold.
Iíd like to officially say spurious drugs are not available anywhere in the state
How do you explain media reports of drug stores being hauled up for selling spurious medicines?
In many cases, drug inspectors go to a store and demand invoices for purchases. If the dealer canít find the documents, drugs are branded spurious
Is it safe to buy over-the-counter medicines from any store?
As long as it obeys norms
Does the JCDA monitor how shops store drugs?
Yes, we do. We also issue regular guidelines
What advice would you give to consumers?
Demand a cash memo when you buy drugs. Donít buy medicine without a physicianís prescription.