Drug dealers in the city are in a spot because of the artificial scarcity of medicines under the new drug pricing regime.
Ravi S. Menon, Deputy Drugs Controller, told The Hindu, that drug shortage was reported only in certain areas in Kollam and Kottayam. Drug Inspectors were meeting distributors and visiting company depots to verify stocks. Dealers had been advised to courier their orders as other means of delivery would take 15 days.
Mr. Menon said the department had adopted a practical approach to ensure availability of drugs.
While generic drugs were available, there was an artificial shortage of branded drugs, he said. Retailers were being instructed on what medicines can and cannot be sold at the old price. “Certain medicines with different dosage can be sold at the old prices,” Mr. Menon said.
Drug dealers told The Hindu that the Drugs Control Department’s approach was pragmatic. In Thrissur, the Assistant Drug Controller met 3,000-odd drug licensees and told them how to prevent artificial shortage of drugs.
A.N. Mohan, a drug dealer from Thrissur, said the department issued a circular to ensure availability of medicines. The circular said carrying and forwarding agents who did not receive the new stock had to provide the existing stock to the wholesaler at the new ceiling price. The retailer would be billed accordingly with a stamp. Retail licensees have been requested to ensure drugs are sold on the ceiling price notified under the Drug Price Control Order 2013.
Mr. Mohan said since the department was willing to help the retailer to get credits from drug companies for incurring losses by selling notified drugs at new prices.
Dada Pharma, a major drug wholesaler here, has received about 90 per cent of the new stock. “It takes time to reach some of the interior areas. Some retailers are picking it up from here,” said Dada Pharma director J.S. Bhati.