Amid complaints about chemists insisting customers on buying entire strip of tablets or capsules, the Centre is making efforts to find some solution to protect the consumer interest and is holding consultations with the pharma industry. The forced buying of a full strip of medicine not only leads to medical wastage but also put unnecessary financial burden on customers. The Department of Consumer Affairs has held the first round of consultation with the senior representatives of pharma and medical devices industry, sources said.
In the meeting, the top officials of the Drug Controller General of India were also present. According to sources, the issue was discussed at length in the meeting and the Department suggested them to explore new packing technology for medicines. A suggestion to adopt perforation technology to cut the strip was made to the industry.
There was also a recommendation to print manufacturing and expiry date on each strip and even use of QR code, sources added. The department has received several consumer complaints about how chemists are insisting on selling an entire strip of ten tablets or capsules, and refusing them to sell less.
There are cases where the prescription is only for a day or two and the consumer is forced to buy the entire strip. In some cases, consumers buy medicines in small quantities because they cannot afford to buy for the entire week. According to some chemists that PTI spoke to said with fast moving medicines, they have no problem in cutting the strip and selling the required quantity of medicine to customers. In case of slow moving medicines/drugs, they insist on consumers buying an entire strip because distributors or pharmaceutical companies refuse to take back unsold medicines if the strips are cut.