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Pharma policy to blame

A debate on the issue of doctors prescribing expensive medicines and the doctor-pharma nexus is raging. I feel that the entire blame cannot be put on doctors because they are prescribing the medicines available in the market at a price permitted by the pharmaceutical policy of India. So, if there are expensive as well as cheap drugs or generic drugs available simultaneously, the pharmaceutical policy is to be blamed and not the doctors. Understanding the regulatory scenario in the pharmaceutical industry is extremely crucial. The principal regulatory bodies entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the approval, production and marketing of quality drugs in India at reasonable prices are the Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation and the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority which fixes or revises the prices of decontrolled bulk drugs and formulations.

So why this hue and cry of malpractice by doctors in prescribing the expensive medicines? Why not blame the faulty pharmaceutical policy which breeds corruption and a scope for nexus between unscrupulous doctors and pharma companies? If the pharmaceutical policy regulates and fixes the profit margins so that the drug company can't inflate the price, and the generic medicines are available at the actual cost and not at inflated MRP, the problem will be solved by itself. For example, all combinations of drugs with aspirin are sold at a fixed and regulated price, leaving no scope for pocketing incentives. But despite a direction from the Supreme Court to follow the older cost-based methodology, the government is following a market-based pricing policy. If the pharmaceutical policy is strong and patient-friendly, how can the doctor exploit the patient? Exploitation will continue if the pharmaceutical policy is not changed.

Dr. Vitull K. Gupta, Bathinda

Pathankot airport

Two BJP MPs from Himachal Pradesh have demanded that during inclement weather, Dharamsala-bound flights should not return to New Delhi. They should be diverted to the Pathankot airport. Technically, the Pathankot airport is better than any airport in HP. It should be regularly used to carry HP-bound tourists. They should disembark at Pathankot and proceed further by buses, taxis or trains to various hill stations. This airport has the requisite infrastructure which is not being used to the full.

Harjap S Aujla, New Jersey (USA)

Appreciate good deeds

The middle “Dialling a wrong number” (August 21) raises a pertinent question regarding the response time of emergency services in India. A lot needs to be improved. But we should also take into account the huge population, poor pay and service conditions and lack of staff that these services face. Also, we hardly have any words of appreciation or gratitude towards the police, fire or medical services personnel. Every parent should ask his child to go and thank the policeman managing the traffic in the rain or soaring temperatures. This will breed respect and confidence in the gentleman, besides making the child a law-abiding citizen.

Munish Nayyar, Panchkula

Poor bus service

After 5 pm, the bus service is very poor and unsafe for girls travelling to Patiala from Chandigarh. Recently, I was stranded for more than two hours at bus stand. Whenever a bus comes, people run and it gets filled beyond capacity and even girls have to stand in the doorstep. Hardened by this daily chaos, the drivers and conductors don’t behave properly. There is no one at the enquiry ccounters to complain to. This leads to many problems. The authorities should pay attention to this route and provide better services.

Amisha Chauhan, via email

NPAs of banks

The incident of the CMD of Syndicate Bank being arrested by the CBI in a bribery case shows the extent of malpractice and rot that has set in the banking sector. Due to corruption and vested interests, PSU banks have NPAs worth a staggering ~2 lakh crore. While some PSU banks went overboard in lending to repeated defaulters and to those who had poor credentials of repaying the loans, the RBI paid little heed to arresting the trend. Eventually, the Finance Ministry also did not make adequate efforts to persuade the banks to recover the bad loans.

The defaulting bank officials who are responsible for creating these NPAs must be taken to task. Every penny of the public money should be recovered and ploughed back into the national economy.

VM Tandon, Panchkula


India is suffering from the problem of deficit area under forests. The gain in the production of foodgrains is at the cost of loss of area under forests.

Whenever I travel by rail, I am pained to note that vast stretches of land along the railway tracks presenting a deserted look. Planting trees along railway tracks, national and state highways and village roads can make the country surplus in forests. For this, the ministries of railways, forest and environment and state governments need to make concerted efforts. Planting of trees will improve environment, generate employment and formulate big assets after six years. Every year, 10 crore saplings need to be planted and the process should continue forever. Forests will control pollution. Not only this, abundant firewood and timber will be available. Also, forests are more conducive to rain.

HK Sharma, Nawanshahr

Savouring mangoes

I was savouring mangoes after dinner. My hands, mouth and even clothes were delving into the taste of the divine fruit. An old memory knocked at the door of my mind: of the time I had visited with my friend his cousin's house in Delhi. The sophisticated people offered me a mango with a spoon after dinner. Being a rustic boy, I could not understand the purpose of a spoon with the mango. So, I waited for the others to start eating. That day, I failed to enjoy my mango.

These days, the rising prices of the fruit are playing the role of a spoon between me and my mango. Still, I believe that mangoes can be best enjoyed when you eat them childlike.

Dinesh Kumar, Kurukshetra

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]



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