The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Protocol pill for prescriptions
- New drug policy to end ‘wrong’ ways

Calcutta, July 28: Concerned over the way doctors prescribe drugs in “incomplete” and “wrong” prescriptions, the government has decided to frame a policy for standard treatment protocol.

After a recent audit of prescriptions from almost all the state-run hospitals, the health department found to its dismay that most were flawed.

“The audit showed the prescriptions were not only incomplete but lacked rationality. It also meant that this was the time to evolve a comprehensive drug policy,” health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra said at a meeting on rational drug management. Organised by the Indo-German Basic Health Project and Health Systems Development, Project-II, the meeting was aimed at evolving a consensus on the new drug policy.

The government has already formulated a list of essential drugs and services to be provided by the primary health centres.

“We have now begun the process of finalising the standard treatment protocol. Once we have gone through the recommendations provided by health experts, we will be ready to release a comprehensive guideline for doctors and implement the new drug policy,” said Mishra.

To ensure quality control over life-saving drugs used in hospitals, the government has decided to test the medicines before purchase. It has identified 12 laboratories across the country where sample medicines will be sent for tests before they are sent to the hospitals.

“Any medicine found inferior in quality will be immediately rejected. The medicines will be examined in batches to ensure that there is no shortage of essential drugs in hospitals,” health secretary Asim Burman said today.

The government purchases medicines worth Rs 120 crore every year but in recent times, many of them were found falling short of WHO norms. On its part, the government is building a new laboratory in Salt Lake at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore to test drugs.

The World Bank is funding the entire project and work will begin soon. “With the commissioning of the lab, we hope to add another feather on the city’s healthcare map. This lab will help us have a firm control over the quality of life-saving drugs,” said Burman.

Technical expertise in the project to provide quality healthcare facilities in the state is being provided by GTZ — a German consultant. The project, which began in 1999 but has taken a more concrete shape now, involves a German grant of 4.5 million euros for a period of five years and an additional 30,000 euros for infrastructure development.

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