The National Drug Policy, drafted by the National Drug Authority to streamline and monitor pharmacies and end the current practice of ad-hoc drug pricing is to be implemented this year, Health Department sources said. A Health Ministry spokesman said they were hopeful of implementing the law within this year.
`The Minister is determined to leave no stone unturned and ensure a perfect Act with no loopholes for offenders to go scot-free,` he said.
Without a proper legal framework to protect patients from profit driven drug companies, patients are tricked into buying high-priced and over rated medicine. People also opt to go for the expensive products for the fear they may end up with inferior products, the spokesman said.
This law is expected to monitor and streamline activities of thousands of pharmacies throughout the country. But keeping a tab on doctors` prescriptions is still undecided under the policy, he said.
Earlier, the Drug Policy was expected to compel doctors to use generic instead of branded drugs.
`We have to look at all sides. Imposing a ban on brand names is not at all practical or viable at this stage,` the sources said adding that this was a practice that cannot be changed overnight. Instead they were planning to educate the public on drugs and doctors on ethics.