Licences of 12 chemist shops cancelled for selling Covid-management drugs without prescription

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New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) The licences of 12 chemist shops have been suspended by the Delhi government's drugs control department for selling Covid-management drugs without a doctor's prescription, officials said on Wednesday.

Last week, the department had suspended the licences of 25 chemist shops for selling medicines without prescriptions. Show-cause notices were issued to 12 chemist shops and the formalities to suspend their licences was completed on Wednesday, an official said.

The action is being taken in the wake of a rising number of mucormycosis or black fungus cases in the national capital. Experts have blamed an indiscriminate use of steroids among Covid patients for the spike in black fungus cases.

The drugs control department has been sending decoy customers to chemist shops and action is being initiated against those chemists who hand over drugs without a prescription, said Atul Kumar Nasa, the head of the Delhi Drugs Control office.

'Twelve chemist shops were found selling steroidal drugs without a prescription. Selling steroidal drugs without a doctor's prescription is in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act,' he told PTI.

The 12 shops were found selling steroids such as budesonide and dexamethasone without a prescription of a registered medical practitioner, according to officials. The shops will have to stay closed till the time their licences remain suspended.

The department is cracking the whip on the sale of drugs such as Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Ivermectin and certain painkillers that are being used in the treatment of the coronavirus. Azithromycin is a Schedule H drug under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and cannot be sold over the counter without a prescription.

During the first wave of the pandemic, the department had initiated action against those found selling Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) without a prescription. After the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued an advisory recommending the use of HCQ for the prophylaxis of the Covid infection for the high-risk population, there was a rush to procure the drug and the department had initiated action against those found selling it without a valid prescription.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority had last month directed the authorised dealers and pharmacies selling COVID-19 medicines to display the available stock and the cost of the drugs prominently at their shops.

The drugs are Ivermectin tablets, Doxycyclin tablets and capsules, Methyl Prednisolone tablets and injections, Dexamethasone tablets and injections, Budesonide inhalers, Respules Favipiravir tablets, Apixaban tablets and Enoxaparin Sodium or Clexane, it had said.

According to Nasa, most of the chemists are complying with the order. The staff of the department carries out daily checks on whether the chemist shops are complying with the order, he said. PTI SLB RC