On February 2, the officials inspected 5 to 10 medical shops in each district and served a week's closure notice to the errant stores. (DC Image).
VIJAYAWADA: The Drugs Control Administration that held a state-wide raid on pharmacies and served closure notices on several such stores for rule violations have abruptly stopped their raids. This is after drug dealers, raised a hue and cry. However, the halt to the raids drew sharp criticism from many quarters.
It was after a flurry of complaints about irregularities in pharmacies that the DCA issued orders for raids on medical stores. Major violations like the absence of pharmacists and the sale of antibiotics across the counter without a valid prescription from a registered medical practitioner were detected in the raids.
On February 2, the officials inspected 5 to 10 medical shops in each district and served a week’s closure notice to the errant stores. Though the raids were to be continued for two more days, they got instructions from the top to stop these. It is learnt that a section of the drug dealers contacted health minister Vidadala Rajani and top officials of the department and pleaded with them to stop the raids. The dealers sought some more time to set things right.
Officials enthused by the order for the raids were however upset that it was suspended midway. They said that if patients purchased and used certain antibiotics like azithromycin, amoxicillin etc without a doctor’s prescription and supervision, they would develop antimicrobial resistance requiring higher dosages of drugs in future. Some infections become so hard to treat and cause their spread in the body and they may even lead to death, they say.
Patients have been complaining about the lack of pharmacists in several medical stores and say some pharma assistants having no technical qualifications are handling drugs and selling them across the counter. Many stores do not issue bills for the purchases, they say.
The Seema Andhra Drugs Association general secretary Ranga Rao said, "We have requested the top officials of the DCA to give us some time to rectify the lapses. Serving a closure notice immediately after an inspection is not as per norms. We have to be given a show cause and based on our reply, action can be taken."
Repeated attempts to contact DCA director-general Ravi Shankaranarayan on phone for his response yielded no result.