Prescription for Danger: Expired Drugs a Bitter Pill to Swallow in Kashmir

Prescription for Danger: Expired Drugs a Bitter Pill to Swallow in Kashmir

In a worrying turn of events, the use of white labels to obscure expiry dates on medicine strips has ignited fear and suspicion among the local populace. The residents have raised their suspicions regarding the possibility of substandard medicines flooding the market, posing serious risks to public health.

The practice of concealing expiry dates has raised questions about transparency and accountability within the pharmaceutical industry. Muneer Ahmad, a 30-year-old resident of Srinagar has been suffering from viral infection for the last month.

Ahmad consumed many medicines for relief. However, lately, his medication hasn’t been offering its usual relief. “I have consumed antibiotics and am still on anti-viral drugs. It has been a month but the cough, cold, and fever don’t go away. I suspect there are substandard medicines in the market. I recently purchased an anti-allergic medicine with a white label on it hiding the expiry date,” he said.

Ahmad’s experience is a stark reminder of the growing anxieties plaguing Kashmiris over the quality of medicines available in the region. Many Kashmiris share similar anxieties, especially the use of white labels to obscure expiry dates on medicine strips, prompting fears among the populace.

Younis Bashir of Sanat Nagar raised his apprehension after purchasing a medicine strip for his wife. “Yesterday I bought a medicine strip for my wife and the white label was on it. This is suspicious. It is a growing concern over the safety and efficacy of medications in the region,” he said.

The prevalence of health complications has escalated, with reports indicating that every third person in Kashmir is grappling with life-threatening health issues. Such alarming statistics have fueled scepticism regarding the quality and authenticity of drugs available in the market.

Official documents from the Drug and Food Control Organisation J&K reveal that 22 drugs were found to be substandard up to January 2024 in 2023-24. This revelation has underscored the urgent need for transparency and stringent measures to ensure the safety of medicinal products.

State Drugs Controller of J&K, Lotika Khajuria told that they had been inspecting medicines in the market and had not encountered any instances of substandard medications or incorrect labelling.

Khajuria said that issues related to white labels primarily concern the pricing matters. “Individuals encountering label problems should contact us via the toll-free number 104 for swift resolution, ensuring necessary action will be taken,” she said.

Khajuria said that their ongoing efforts in collecting samples and conducting rigorous tests adhere to strict parameters ranging from 7-8 to 10-12 for assessing medicines. “Any failure to meet these parameters prompts immediate and appropriate action, following guidelines set forth by the Central Drug Authority and governed by the Drug and Cosmetic Act,” she said.

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