Staff Reporter

Concern at lack of awareness

CHENNAI: Pharmaceutical companies should pass the benefits of Value-Added Tax to the consumers, said Principal Commissioner and Commissioner of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection L. N. Vijayaraghavan here on Wednesday.

Speaking at a one-day seminar on "The drug scene today" organised under the auspices of the Tamil Nadu Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, he said retailers should not charge higher prices from consumers under the VAT regime. He expressed concern at the lack of awareness among the consumers who ended up paying more than the MRP rates.

While government employees and those employed in companies may get reimbursement benefits against submission of medical bills, people who have no such cover would suffer, Mr Vijayaraghavan said.

In his presidential address, Chairman, Consumer Co-ordination Council, New Delhi, P. Duraisingam said many consumers spent 30 to 40 per cent of their money on medicines.

Unethical practices had taken deep roots. For instance, some medical practitioners insisted that patients undergo tests only in a specific laboratory.

Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Civil Supplies (South) Gangabai welcomed the gathering. Consumer activists from various institutions participated.