Guwahati has witnessed a concerning health issue raised by the Chemists and Druggists Association of Assam (CDAA) regarding the activities of “unapproved stockists.” These unauthorized stockists have been identified as selling medicines to retailers without adhering to the necessary registrations with government-monitored carrying and forwarding agents (CnFs), company depots, or authorized stockists. This evasion of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) not only raises concerns about the integrity of the supply chain but also poses a significant threat to public health.
The CDAA has recently shed light on severe breaches in maintaining permissible temperature levels for vaccines, insulins, and injectable medicines within the “unapproved stockists.” It has been alleged that even drugs requiring refrigeration are being sourced from unreliable channels in Delhi, Agra, and Kanpur and pushed into Assam. This situation calls for immediate action to protect the health and well-being of the public.
CDAA Secretary Jitu Barman expressed concern over the transportation of vaccines and insulins to the northeast through courier services, where inadequate measures are taken to maintain the required cold chain temperatures. He further highlighted that “the trade of unauthorized medicines has increased significantly since the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020. The association has identified five distributors in the city who are allegedly compromising the quality of medicines and failing to uphold the necessary temperature controls by evading CnFs, company depots, or super stockists.”
According to government sources, medicines procured by distributors outside the state should ideally go through CnFs, company depots, or super stockists before reaching different distributors and, eventually, retailers. However, the infiltration of unauthorized stockists jeopardizes this authorized distribution channel, posing risks to public health in Assam.
CDAA President NL Agarwala expressed distress over the unauthorized importation of medicines and life-saving drugs from unreliable sources outside Assam. These activities not only evade GST but also disrupt the authorized distribution network, compromising public health.
It is imperative that immediate action be taken to address this issue and enforce stringent measures to ensure the integrity of the medicine supply chain. This will help protect the public from potential health risks associated with unapproved stockists. Public health authorities and regulatory bodies must collaborate to safeguard the well-being of the community and ensure the availability of safe and genuine medicines.
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