Next time if you are asked to show your identity card at a chemist shop, don't get surprised. Chances are high that the central government may make it compulsory for patients or their representatives to furnish identity cards to buy medicines from pharmacists across the country. The move is aimed at checking sale of counterfeit drugs.
According to a senior Health Ministry official, the move is aimed at mapping area-wise usage of drugs to keep a track of medicines through its batch number that will be provided by retailers through e-platform.
"The patients would have to just show an identity proof to drug retailers and their details would be registered on the portal being developed by the Health Ministry for regulating sale of medicines," the Health Ministry official said, adding that patients/representatives would be asked to carry documents such as PAN card, voter ID card, Aadhaar card, or any I-card issued by government authority.
Explaining about the objective behind carrying I-cards, the official said, "It will help the ministry in many ways such as mapping the prevalence of diseases in particular area and usage of particular drugs in different diseases."
In reply to a question as how it will help in checking fake drugs, the official said, "The plan is to make it must for drug manufacturers to provide every detail of the drug at e-portal and accordingly retailers would also be asked to do so. If any case of fake drug would come into notice, it would be immediately tracked with the help of its batch number."
"The details of patient/representatives would be kept confidential and won't be disclosed to anyone other than Central and state drug regulators," the official said, adding no chemist or e-pharmacist outlet would be allowed to sell any medicine unless it's registered on the e-portal.
The pharmacies located in rural and other remote areas can upload the data either through mobile phones or through internet at least once every fortnight.
All manufacturers would be required to register themselves with the e-portal and enter data relating to sale of drugs on the platform to different distributors i.e. the stockists/wholesalers or otherwise with batch number, quantity supplied and expiry date of the batch.