Unethical and Criminal!

Unethical and Criminal!

I In what should be a trade that besides the commercial angle or aspect have nobler, or let’s say purer motives, the business of selling medicines in Kashmir has a decidedly insalubrious flavor to it. There is clear evidence of sub standard medicines being sold in the market and then consumed by people. This substandard drug trade has reached a serious level in Kashmir, with the number of drugs found to be substandard during official inspections having doubled in the past two years. According to official records, the Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFCO) declared 66 drugs, some of them life-saving and emergency drugs, supplied to various government hospitals and private chemist shops in Kashmir as substandard, out of drugs tested in 2018-2019. The samples were collected by Drug Inspectors of the DFCO from different chemist shops and hospitals of Kashmir, including from tertiary-care hospitals and stores of Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation (JKMSCL). This is not only alarming but morally and ethically obnoxious. The reasons are as obvious as can be: some drug distributors are pushing these sub standard medicines to the gullible public in the quest to make or supernormal profits. This is not to suggest or imply that those involved in the medicine commerce should forfeit profits, subsidize medicines or engage in charity. No. Not at all. They must and should make profits but only of a reasonable level and which ethics and conscience permits. Anything above and beyond this is or amounts to predatory behavior in a domain that has life and death connotations. Given that there is clear evidence of unethical and immoral practices with the motive of making supernormal profits, the selling of sub standard drugs must be checked and be put an end to now. The issue is that of lives and deaths, to repeat. If this is not one of the interests of the people, then what can be? The question is how? One obvious measure is that of a strict punitive action that not only raises the price of indulging in these sorts of unethical and inglorious practices but makes clear the consequences. In this regard, a few scalps must be taken, so to speak to drive home the point. Selling sub standard drugs, in the final analysis, is a crime against society and individuals. It is about time that this unethical and criminal practice is put an end to!