Medicine stock running low
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, August 11 2011:
With the average daily supply of 3-4 truck loads of medicine ceasing abruptly due to the ongoing agitation in demand for upgrading Sadar Hills to a full-fledged district, stocks of pharmaceutical goods, including life saving drugs in the State are said to be depleting at an alarming level.
speaking to The Sangai Express today, Manipur Chemists & Druggists Association (MCDA) president N Sarat Kumar and secretary Dr RK Ratan kumar said consequent to snapping of the supply line through both the National Highways, especially the Imphal-Dimapur section of the life-line, the only route left for procuring pharmaceutical products from manufacturing companies is through the air cargo transport.
Noting that violent incidents of torching goods carriers, with transportation of life-saving drugs not even spared during the course of the ongoing agitation, has created a sense of insecurity to the transport operators, they recalled that when similar agitation disrupted vehicular movement the Government responded positively by lifting drugs on air cargo.
Highlighting that in the recent past when the State was facing acute shortage of life-saving drugs due to choking of the National Highways MCDA had formally apprised the Commissioner (Health) to initiate necessary measures, they recounted Government approval for ferrying of light medicinal ferrying of light medicinal items on air cargo.
Expressing hope that similar steps would be undertaken by the authority concerned to address the present situation of drug shortages, the MCDA officials appealed to the Government for immediate intervention.
Further informing that MCDA had on August 9 intimated to drug manufacturing companies to sustain the supply through air cargo, they also regretted that even if the supply resumes by air solving the problem of oxygen shortage is likely to remain till a safe surface transport is ensured as oxygen cylinders are heavy objects and thus not feasible for its transport by air.
While informing that apart from shortage of oxygen ensuring adequate availability of intravenous fluid would be problematic, they reiterated that unless the Government takes all possible measures to procure the most essential medicinal item there would be huge health risk in the State.
It is said that on an average medicines worth Rs 60-70 lakhs used to be transported in a single truck load involving products of about 300 companies for the entire State of Manipur where there are nearly 100 stockists/wholesalers under the MCDA.
Moreover, these drugs are sold in 700 registered pharmacists apart from suspected number of about 300 unregistered pharmacists.
Conceding that MCDA's role in ensuring availability of drugs in the State is very limited whenever agitations choke the supply routes, they made a fervent appeal to the State Government to resolve the Sadar Hills issue at the earliest.