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Posted at: Jul 13, 2018, 2:07 AM; last updated: Jul 13, 2018, 1:42 PM (IST)

Pvt de-addiction centres under lens

Treatment drugs being sold in bulk in gross violation of norms
Pvt de-addiction centres under lens

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12

A tablet of buprenorphine, a substitute drug to wean away those addicted to narcotics and psychotropic substances, which is available for Rs 4.38 in government-run de-addiction centres of Punjab, is reportedly being sold in private de-addiction centres for between Rs 20 and Rs 100.

To check overpricing and other malpractices, the 96 private de-addiction centres across the state are being brought under the scanner.

On agenda is conducting checks if these drugs are being sold in bulk to addicts under treatment, in violation of rules and exorbitant admission charges. A survey will be conducted and a report submitted within a week, Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Satish Chandra, told The Tribune.

Sources say only one buprenorphine tablet a day must be administered to a patient, and that too under supervision. But private drug de-addiction centres are reportedly providing a 15-day dosage. 

Also, there have been stray incidents of buprenorphine tablets being smuggled out and sold to addicts (looking for a high) at Rs 250 per tablet.

“Buprenorphine is a Schedule H drug. Licenced drug de-addiction centres can procure and dispense these drugs after meticulous maintenance of a patient’s record. Since there is no legal bar on the quantity of drugs that they can give to a patient, the state government has laid down directions in this regard. But some centres have been indulging in malpractices,” said a senior official associated with the state’s de-addiction programme. 

The Additional Chief Secretary said the government planned to bring all private de-addiction centres under a legal framework and ensure minimum standards of practice.

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