KATHMANDU, June 15: The government's apathy to bring regulations for ensuring uniformity in the price and quality of similar drugs in the market has been hitting the consumers hard.
According to the Department of Drug Administration (DDA), a proposed regulation to bring such uniformity in the medicine market was drafted a year ago. However, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has shelved it without taking any further action for its approval by the Council of Ministers, according to DDA officials.
The proposed regulation provisions uniformity in the price and quality of similar drugs. “At present, the quality and price of similar drugs are very irregular,” said Santosh KC, senior drug administrator at the DDA. “We are waiting for government nod to regulate the price and quality of drugs in the market,” he added.
Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for the MoHP, said that the issue of regulating the price and quality of drugs in the country was raised in the ministry. “However, I don't know about the progress of bringing the regulation,” he said.
The regulation also provisions determining the prices of drugs produced by the domestic drug manufacturers, according to the DDA.
Some other regulations including those related to the production and monitoring of drugs and recalling substandard drugs from the market, too, have been shelved for more than a year at the ministry, according to DDA officials.
The MoHP has also been criticized for not monitoring and taking action against the illegally operating medicine shops throughout the country. While many such shops are not even registered, others have not renewed their registration, according to DDA officials.
The ministry estimates that around 30,000 medicine shops are operational across the country the country. However, DDA officials say that only about 18,000 of them are registered or have renewed their registration.