The more the merrier

The Department of Drug Administration (DDA) has closed down 74 dispensaries in 2008 and issued warnings to 269 others after finding them in violation of DDA regulations. The inspections were carried out in the districts of Nuwakot, Gulmi, Tanahun, Rupandehi, Lamjung, Gorkha, Kapilvastu and Argakhanchi. While 74 had no DDA licence, 269 were found dealing in expired/ banned drugs, or had no trained chemists to man the drug outlets. Other common violations were failing to keep proper record of narcotic and psychotropic drugs, storing vaccines outside refrigerator and expired licences.

After years of sitting on DDA proposal to increase its staff strength, the government has finally set the record straight by appointing nine new drug inspectors in addition to the existing nine. Even so, 18 inspectors are nearly not enough for the whole country. It has been found that those druggists who had been previously warned are unlikely to repeat their offence even in the absence of any other punishment. The very fact that somebody is closely following their business dealings was enough to nip their nefarious intent. This clearly hints at the need for more trained inspectors. Tighter control on import of narcotic drugs is also of paramount importance to check drug abuse. The government has finally taken a step in the right direction. But giant strides need to be taken.