Jammu and Kashmir Government has green signalled a State Drug Policy based on rational use of drugs and promising to promote local manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in line with the State Industrial Policy. The policy, approved by the State cabinet as the culmination of a three-year long process, makes provision for an essential list of medicines which would be procured by the Government for distribution. The policy seeks to set up an expert committee called State Drug Committee to select the essential medicines and to be revised in every two years.
“In order to promote self-sufficiency, the State Government will encourage local manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in line with the State Industrial Policy. The regulatory agency shall enforce relevant guidelines on manufacture including Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Storage Practices (GSP),” the policy said. The statement continues… “The concepts of essential drugs, rational drug use and generic prescribing shall be an integral part of basic and in-service training of health professionals. As such, these shall be incorporated in the curricula of health training institutions. All drugs shall be prescribed and dispensed only by their generic name or International Non-proprietary Name (INN) in the public sector. Regular Prescription audits shall be commissioned in public hospitals to measure the compliance in this regard.”
A Drug Information Centre shall be established preferably in the Government Medical Colleges to work in collaboration with all the stakeholders in order to provide appropriate drug information. A State level Formulary would be published annually in line with the World Health Organization/National norms and distributed to all qualified prescribers free of cost or on subsidized rate. This will be funded through the available budget for drugs. It is recognized that activities pertaining to drug information are a right charge on the budget for procurement of drugs, according to the policy. The State would endeavour to conduct training of drug sellers, continuing education of health care providers and consumer education. The State would endeavour to provide financial incentives to promote rational use of drugs, it said.
Although there may be about 20,000 medicines/combinations available in the market, with about 300 drugs recommended by the World Health Organization and 268 (348 list) in Essential Drugs List of Government of India, it would be possible to tackle almost all disease conditions. The State is already considering ISM Sector at par with allopathic sector. The Drug Policy provides for a separate State Drug Committee for the drugs of ISM sector. The said committee would be asked to prepare an Essential Drugs List for each discipline viz., Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy which are popular in the State.