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Drug stores working as private hospitals

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04th-Dec-2017       
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A DRUG store offering private hospital service may hear strange but it's a reality at work. A joint inspection team of Rapid Action Battalion, Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) found such drug stores are at work as private hospitals and diagnostic centres in the city on Wednesday.

They found a foul-smelling narrow corridor, housing a cluttered drug store at Mohammadpur functioning as a private hospital. It is selling unregistered and expired medicines. A pathologist with no education or training is running it. These are just the first discoveries they made during a drive against private hospitals and diagnostic centres in Mohammadpur as per a report of a local daily.

They found in the drug store unregistered drugs, including imported tetanus vaccines, and date-expired intravenous pain medications. It also didn't have any pharmacist to oversee the sales of drugs. Scrutinizing records of lab tests and other documents like licences, they said inaccurate lab tests were one of the main reasons for the poor state of the country's healthcare. Doctors and treatment methods were not wholly responsible, date expired medicines are often the main reason for treatment failure.

Going through the hospital records in another hospital, the team found that the storing and cross matching of blood were done without permission from the authorities, a criminal act that can lead to transmission of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and malaria, even though the safe blood transfusion rules 2008 are probably the toughest and most recent of all in the health sector.

The so-called hospitals are surviving because of a vast and insidious network of brokers who wait outside public hospitals -preying on the weak and unwary. Promising them hope of better treatments they lure them to these substandard places for treatment at low cost in returns for a fat commission from the clinics. But the question remains as to how such brokers manage to find such patients? Hospital wards and corridors should not be the places where such agents should lurk- it should be an area for the patients and their medical attendants. But the laxity of security and connivance of some dishonest hospital management staff allow such brokers a firm footing in some public hospitals.

Patients come to public hospitals expecting better treatment. When such treatment is denied them these brokers are able to manipulate the weaknesses of ill patients. If they are sternly guarded against then it would not be possible for them to get any patients to be misled. So public hospital authorities have to do better work to guard against such unethical malpractices. If they do so then all these so-called hospitals working simply for profiteering will run to the ground.

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