ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Protecting Health Care Consumers-Is CPA Effective

dalits into this system. As a result the hope BCs and dalits of providing political leadership and entering bureaucratic, technocratic and professional counterparts of the system, mainly via reservation policy, are reduced to ashes. This social formation, in my opinion is a malformation in the process of change. Thus, the bureaucratic feudalism is not a healthy and developed formation but a malformation which is blocking the spontaneous flow of a process of social change and thereby, is sabotaging the process of distributive justice as well.

Consumer Protection Act and Medical Profession

one party, is to miss the point that the protection clause was nevertheless a fact. This leads to the question whether India could have taken recourse to legal action by approaching the international monetary bodies on the issue of the iniquitous protocol exchange rate, in the extreme case choosing to renege on (apart of) the debt. It seems that in view of the written agreement between our countries the burden of legal opinion could hardly have weighed on our side (quite apart from the virtual impossibility of deciding such a bilateral matter in a multilateral forum). Further, on account of strategic considerations, exercising such an option may not have been desirable.

Drug Industry Crying Wolf Again

Arun Bal In the last couple of months the drug industry has been putting enormous pressure on the government to review the Drug Price Control Order and all the later decisions on prices. Is its stand justified?

Counterfact on Analgin

Arun Bal Anil Pilgaonkar MODERN drugs are now part of the armamentarium of medical practitioners at every level and are universally perceived to have powerful effects. Of the 5 billion people in the world, between 1,3 to 2.5 billion have little or no access to the essential drugs. In India only 20 per cent of the population has access to essential drugs. Between 1952 and 1983 the number of the production units grew three-fold, investment 24 folds and bulk drug production 18 folds. Yet the production of essential drugs in 1980 accounted for only Rs 3.5 billion of an overall total production worth of Rs 12.6 billion. In the five years between 1978-79 and 1983-84 the industry's sale of essential drugs with the lowest price mark up actually dipped from Rs 554.7 million to Rs 493.5 million while sales of the other drugs for which government allows higher mark ups grew by 25 per cent from Rs 1544,4 million to Rs 1983.8 million. Thus essential drugs constituted only 16.8 per cent of the total drugs consumed. This means that resources are being used for products that arc not essential, at a time when a large pro portion of the population is without access to even the most basic drugs. India provides a paradoxical example of the overproduction of the drugs (total production Rs 2500 crore) existing simultaneously with the shortage of essential drugs for some of the major diseases. The main reason for this anamolous situation is that the drug production is not consistent with the disease pattern of the country. There is plethora of non-essential, hazardous drugs. It is estimated that at present there are anything between 40,000 to 60,000 Tlrugs formulation in the market. More than half of these are non-essential or hazardous. WHO estimates that some 500 million dollars have been mobilised to support national drug programmes. At first glance that seems to be impressive figure; however this is only 5 per cent of the amount being spent by the industry to promote all drugs. (Towards Rational Drug Use', Health Action International.) MANAGEMENT OF PAIN Analgesics or painkillers form a major part of the aggressively marketed drugs.

EP Drugs Inquiry Why Is Industry Upset

wielding goondas and set them on the striking teachers, injuring two of them. Secondly, the management of the Sir Theagaraya College in Madras has already issued show-cause notice to 41 striking teachers seeking explanation why they should not be suspended. The manage- ment has isolated two of the active members of the teachers' movement

MEDICINE-Doctors and Drug Companies

replenish these resources by adequate afforestation and water conservation measures such as those adopted by a voluntary organisation, Gram Gauray Pratisthan, in Purandhar Taluka of Pune district. At the same time, ground water organisations in all the states need to be reorganised and suitably strengthened in term of material and manpower resources so that they can monitor and regulate withdrawals of water from critical zones both from the point of view of saturation and saline instrusion.

Drug Policy

Drug Policy Arun Bal K JAYARAMAN in his comment titled 'Distortion Inherent in Drug Policy' (EPW, August 2) states that the scarcity of essential drugs is a natural reaction to the loss making efforts. Are the pharmaceutical companies really incurring losses due to the production of essential drugs? The findings of a recent study done by a consumer activist group shows that the industry's argument to explain scarcity of essential drugs are not based on the facts. This study revealed that even after substantial reduction of drug prices the companies are in a position to offer huge discounts to the chemists. In Category 11 drugs, where 55 per cent mark up is allowed the companies are in a position to offer upto 15 per cent cash discount. If with 55 per cent mark ups the companies are in a position to offer discount to the chemist it is obvious that the break-even mark up for these products is much below 55 per cent. Though price of Terramycin was reduced by 30 per cent after DPCO 1979 and it is a Category II drug with 55 per cent mark up the company was offering 15 per cent discount on Terramyein 10 mi vial in April 1986. In the case of Mayambutol (Cyanamid) the prices were reduced by 59 per cent between 1972 and 1984, In April 1986 the company was offering 20 tablets free for every 100 tablets purchased. It is unfair to compare the drug prices to the other commodity prices to justify the increased mark ups. Drug prices are usually high when the drugs arc newly introduced. If the production of the Category I and II drugs is a loss making effort then how can the companies afford to give cash discounts and bonuses to the chemists? The study qouted above has been done by an organisation interested in the consumer welfare and will be definitely be called biased by the industry.

Distortions in Drug Policy Who Is to be Blamed

Distortions in Drug Policy: Who Is to be Blamed? Arun Bal JAYARAMAN'S comment (EPW, May 3, 1986) on the drug policy editorial (EPW, March 8/15, 1986) appears to give an impression that the pharmaceutical industry is the main victim of the 1978 national drug policy. It tries to justify the plethora of formulations and hazardous/irrational drugs and gives an impression that growth of the Indian pharmaceutical industry has been slowed down because of the government drug policy. This comment is written with the aim of pointing out the fallacy of the above-mentioned arguments.
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