Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bhutan - Thimphu hit by a dearth of drugs

The Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in the capital has been facing an acute shortage of drugs for quite some time now. The patients cannot get the required medicines. It is also difficult to get the prescribed medicines from the medical shops.

According to patients visiting the hospital, if the doctors prescribe four to five different medicines, only two or three are available from the dispensary counter. They have to buy the rest from the medical shops.

“We are asked to buy the medicines from the medical shops but we can’t find them in any of the medical shops,” said a frustrated patient.

Medical shop owners are required to register all the drugs they want to import with the Drug Regulatory Authority. According to pharmacists who run the medical shops, this is making it difficult for them to procure medicines.

P.S. Sada runs the City Pharmacy in the capital town. According to him “getting medicines registered with the authority is difficult. To do this, we have to submit a dossier produced by the company and each product will have a dossier consisting of no less than 200 pages.”

Ratna Samal, the proprietor of the Himalaya Medical Shop, said “previously we use to sell all the products but from March 2010, the Drug Regulatory Authority asked us to sell only the registered products.”

Sonam Dorji, a Drug Controller from the Drug Regulatory Authority, said medical shops have to register the drugs they want to sell with the authority so that they can ensure the quality of the medicines.

Meanwhile, the Media focal person of the Health Ministry Kado Zangpo said the shortage was caused mainly due to the changes in the procurement system.

No comments: