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SRINAGAR — Despite the government claims that Prescription Audit Committees are in place in J&K, most of the Jammu and Kashmir hospitals continue to witness mass medications.

Experts believe that the main reasons behind the mass medication include strict implementation of the Prescription Audit Report, medical corruption and freebies given to doctors.

Influenza expert and DAK President Dr Nisar Ul Hassan while talking to the news agency KNO said that the implementation of the prescription audit will ensure the quality of care and safety of the patients and more importantly, it will do away with the irrational prescription.

He said that prescription is dictated by pharma companies because they provide commissions to the doctors and doctors prescribe unnecessary medications also.

“If you are visiting a doctor with viral infections, he will load your prescription with antibiotics and such drugs instead of giving relief, these drugs have adverse effects on patients,” he said and added, “If these drugs are given for a longer time, patients become prone for other diseases as well as they destabilize the gut flora which is very important to maintain your body against many infections as good bacterias are wiped out.”

“Inappropriate use of antibiotics is responsible for alarming levels of antibiotic resistance in Kashmir valley,” he said, adding more than two-thirds of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed for infections caused by viruses or conditions that are not linked to infection at all.

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Dr Nisar said that with no regulations, chemists give antibiotics to everyone and even in hospitals, patients are given antibiotics without appropriate testing to match their bacterial infection.

“Inappropriate and irrational use of antibiotics has turned Kashmir hospitals into breeding grounds for deadly bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics,” he said, adding that more than 80% of the bacteria are resistant even to last-resort antibiotics.

Misuse of antibiotics gives rise to cancers as if good bacteria are wiped out. “These also become the reason behind the cancer epidemic, especially breast cancer,” he said.

“The prescription audit is very necessary but as of now it is on paper only but not done on the ground,” he said.

Several other doctors said that unnecessary medicines and sometimes low-quality medicines are being prescribed on account of freebies which mostly cause adverse effects and even remain ineffective due to low quality.

They said that unnecessary and extensive use of antibiotics have promoted the emergence and proliferation of resistant bacteria and other pathogens, along with rising AMR, which in turn has resulted in inadequate treatment of common infections and such consequences necessitate the exploration of a variety of ways to combat this expanding issue of resistance.

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“Corrupt practices among a section of doctors have given rise to the mass medication in government-run hospitals as black sheep are everywhere as they resort to mass medications just for freebies and commission, thereby putting lives of people at risk,” they said.

They said that a prescription audit report and strict implementation are needed so that patients won’t have to suffer.

Meanwhile, a top health official said that a prescription audit is already in place and every effort is being taken to ensure that no unnecessary drugs are being prescribed. He said that there may be some discrepancies but the government is working to ensure strict implementation of PAC.

The spokesperson of the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), Dr Mir Mushtaq said that this is an ongoing process and is being implemented on the ground level. He said that just a percentage of prescriptions is being audited as of now and random checking is being conducted.

“If there is any discrepancy, we will take action accordingly,” he said, adding that proper checking is going on in major hospitals, district and sub-district hospitals.

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