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Monday, 1 July 2013

Govt needs to issue advisory to health professionals before banning drugs: Raj Vaidya

Pharmacists across the country are concerned over the communication deficit between the Union health ministry and the stakeholders including the state FDAs, health professionals and general public in issuing a timely advisory before banning a life-saving drugs from the market.
Experts point out that the communications mechanism used by the CDSCO is so weak and slow that let alone the healthcare professionals even the state FDAs come to know about the notification from media rather than their own department. Raj Vaidya, a leading expert from the industry, pointed out that this lackluster attitude of the government is creating a lot of discontent and distrust among the stakeholders as they have to increasingly depend on media to get information on government notification.
This issue comes into limelight in the wake of recent notifications issued by the government on several drugs like dextropropoxyphene on May 18, and the recent ban of drugs like  analgin, pioglitazone and combination of flupenthixol + melitracen on the grounds of patient safety.
Vaidya, a practising community pharmacist from Goa who played a key role in introducing the Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) concept in India, feels that it is unfortunate that the DCGI's office had repeatedly failed to upload and update the information and other developments immediately on the CDSCO's website despite many recurrent instances, leaving the stakeholders and even the FDA officials out of the loop completely.
He further pointed out that the sudden ban of the drugs especially those relating to life saving drugs like diabetes, heart aliments etc. without proper advisory is creating a lot of panic and confusion among the patients as well. Disclosure of such information first by the media sources instead of from the government sources directly is leading to a lot of distrust among the stakeholders further complicating the matter with the patients.
“The government needs to be more professional in its approach by strengthening its existing communication mechanism to help systematic display of notification to health professionals so that they can sensitise and educate the public about the same. This will ensure that there is better clarity among the stakeholders in understanding and accepting the government's decisions more aptly,” Vaidya added.

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