In Kashmir, Cost Of Life Saving Drugs, Other Medicines Go Skyrocketing

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Patients fume, say prices of all medicines went up after Oct 31; Companies charging more GST on new rates, profit is same: Chemists

Nasir Azam

Srinagar: The prices of all the lifesaving drugs and other medicines have witnessed a steep rise post October 31, when Jammu and Kashmir was officially declared as Union Territory (UT), with patients complaining that they are not able to buy medicines prescribed to them, given the high rates.

According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of almost all the drugs including life-saving ones—Insulin, human insulin and other drugs that includes paracetamol, have gone up after October 31.

KNO team while talking to various patients and chemists in Srinagar, found that the 90 per cent drugs sold in Kashmir have witnessed revised rates that includes anti-cancer drugs, majority of whom are being purchased by the patients suffering from the deadly disease from the markets.

“My mother is diabetic and she is on Insulin named—Ryzodeg and Human Insulin 30/70. I used buy Ryzodeg cartridge at the rate of Rs 1100, but the Chemist told me that new rate is Rs 1200. One cartridge of Ryzodeg lasts for seven days only,” said Reyaz Ahmed, a resident of Habba Kadal area of Srinagar.

He said besides the insulin, his mother has been prescribed with anti-hypertensive drug Televas 40 and Zoreal-M 2 Forte for Diabetes. “I used to buy Telvas 40 for Rs 60 a strip of ten tablets till October end, but now the same costs Rs 85 a strip. Similarly, ten tablets of Zoreal M 2 Forte used to cost Rs 150, but the same is not available at the rate of Rs 170.”

Cancer drugs like Paclitaxel, Adromycin and others too are being available at revised rates. “Every drug is costly now. I used to buy capsule Naxpro RD-40 at the cost of Rs 150 but the same is available at Rs 190 now. This is a common drug used to treat acidity problems,” said Imtiyaz Ahmed, a resident of Karangar. He said that it has become very difficult for the patients to get drugs prescribed to them by their respective doctors.

According to a distributor, who works for Abott Company, Companies are charging General Sales Tax on drugs they supply to Kashmir at the rate of 20 per cent but the profit margin has been kept same what it was earlier. “Companies have revised rates for almost all the drugs on the pretext that salts of medicines are available on higher rates than earlier. If rates of drugs were changed, the profit ratio should have been also modified by the companies, but they didn’t do so,” he said.

Another distributor Mukhtar Ahmed, said that profit rate for Chemists in Kashmir have gone down up to two per cent. “We are getting new supplies of drugs in new packs against revised rates. Rates of a few drugs have been cut but majority of drugs have become costly now.

It has become difficult for a common man to buy medicines against revised rates,” he said. Many people have now decided to approach Help Poor Voluntary Trust (HPVT) and Athrout Centers where they get 15 per cent discount on every drug. (KNO)

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