Nepal | November 18, 2019

Pharmacies operating illegally in Jajarkot district

Dinesh Shrestha

Jajarkot, August 20

Most of the pharmacies in the villages of Jajarkot have been found to be operating unlawfully.

Provision has it that one should have studied pharmacy and received permission from the Department of Drug Administration to run a pharmacy. However, the majority of pharmacies do not meet the criteria. People with general health training were found running pharmacies.

Regulatory agencies, however, are paying no attention to monitor such pharmacies. Many pharmacies also lack sign boards. For want of health workers and medicines at government health facilities, locals are forced to visit illegal health facilities and pharmacies that are run privately.

According to Dr Bhupendra Prakash Malla at District Hospital Jajarkot, the tendency to visit private clinics and health centres  has gone up as   they administer high dose medicines which ensure quick relief. “We use normal medicines depending on the patient’s condition and it usually takes some time for illnesses to heal. On the contrary, private clinics use hard medicines without giving due attention to human health. This will have adverse impact on human health,” Malla said.

Antibiotics cannot be sold without doctor’s prescription. However, pharmacy owners attend to the patients on their own and prescribe medicines themselves.  Most of the pharmacy owners have studied AHW. They are not authorised to conduct medical check-up of patients. “Those who have studied pharmacy can open pharmacy, but cannot attend patients,” Malla added.

Biswo Bikram Shah of Bheri Municiplaity-3 said poor people were forced to visit private clinics as they were not given free medicines provided by government health facilities. Shah said that private pharmacies were exploiting poor people and playing with human health by giving high dose medicines.

Jajarkot lags behind in terms of access to health  service. Home to three municipalities, and four rural municipalities, Jajarkot has a 50-bed district hospital, three primary health centres and 31 health posts.

Due to geographical remoteness, it takes more than six hours to reach a health centre. More than 80 per cent people have no choice but to walk due to lack of transport. “We have no choice but to visit private health centres due to unavailability of government health services,” said a local of Junichande Rural Municipality.

Stakeholders say the health sector was thrown into disarray after health centres were handed over to the local level. A local level can manage, regulate and close down illegal pharmacies and clinics. Surprisingly, the government has shown no interest in doing that, said a local.

A version of this article appears in print on August 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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