“OTC!” -A Sneaky Orient Problem


Every drug is a poison depending on its dose. Those are not the substance which can be easily obtained and these are lifesaving staffs for us only then, when their infliction will be in expected way. Various drugs are now in global market for incarnation. Some of those can be used without the exhortation of physicians and some are not. Notable, drug policy is now at grievous danger. OTC drugs are those drugs which can be bought without the prescription from a healthcare center or pharmacy for medical or nonmedical purposes. On the other hand some medicines arestrictly prohibited to sell over the counter without any accessing of prescription (i.e. anticancer drugs, narcotics, antidepressant and some pain-reducing analgesics). At present many people are regularly using their medication without proper prescription. They are purchasing these drugs as ‘OTC’.
It has not been many years since the drug regulation is interrupting for business means. If we look through the previous decades the accessing of OTC drug has increased at more than the mark. The drug selling rate is higher than the prescription is stating. A recent statistics done by Mordor Intelligence, USD 120 billion is the global market value of OTC drug where this rate should be much low in according to the prescribed amount of drug. This increasing rate results impeding the health of people especially in developing country population like south Asian people. It’s suspected that in future India will be the top 10th OTC drug seller in the world.
In south Asian countries, non OTC drugs are bought by the people spontaneously without the prescription or recommendation of pharmacist. This leads to cause intense problems like socio-economic hazards or super infections. As the drug accessing policy is not followed up to the mark, the opioids addiction has become very prominent here. UNDOC stated that in India heroine is sold as ‘OTC’ drug which costs only fifty rupees! Not only in India but also in Bangladesh the scenario is same. Drugs like antidepressant, opioids are sold here without prescription. Day by day the adverse drug reaction rate in body is getting higher. Rate of drugs dose missing is also enhancing. With the consequence of this misspending, most of the antibiotics have become inactive here (i.e. penicillin, tetracyclineresistancein Bangladesh). “I take Rivotril 2 mg (clonazepam) regularly. Doctor prescribed me when I told him that I was having sleep disturbance those days but now I can’t sleep without it.” This statement was given by a known person to me. And the staggering thing is she can purchase this high tranquilizer dosage strength without any prescriptions. These scenarios become very common in Bangladesh. It’s also seen here that people presume his own medication from a friend’s prescription, suffering from same health issue and they easily get them from pharmacy store nearby. As a result the poly pharmacy is rising in young age.If it is operated in such way, that time may not far from now, when drug toxicity will be the one of the premiercauses of rising mortality rate.
The drug policy becomes slack here over passage of time causes are always there when a problem revolts. Prime causes of this problem are lack of public awareness against drug abusing, loose environment on enforced law and incognizance about health safety among people.
These problems will sort out only then when there are hospital pharmacists in every hospital for counseling the patients. In Bangladesh for 500 patients there is only one doctor. Clinical pharmacist is the solution of this problem. But there is not required number of clinical pharmacists in south Asian countries. As the situation is reversed here so this solution has become one of the prime ways to overcome this problem. Pharmacy practices have become necessary to stop the drug abusing. Here the situation is much more complicated beyond our imagination. Except India and Pakistan, other countries are not running the six years long Degree of pharmacy course. Though in Bangladesh professional pharmacy course is now running by some specific public universities but not by all the universities. As a result, in Bangladesh only one elite hospital provides nearly 10-12 clinical pharmacists. This hospital is very expensive and not easily accessible for ordinary people. Most of the universities here are focused on industrial pharmacy which provide 4 years academic course.Nepal is now running 3 years long pharmacy course.Many countries of south Asia still have no noticeable concern on this issue. Government of these countries should give concern to make change in the system. “Without the authorized prescription by a hospital pharmacist, a drug should not be sold” – this policy should be run here as soon as possible. So called ‘OTC’ drugs selling counter should be banned immediately following this purpose.
It is the time to make an updated statistics report on drug misspending as ‘OTC’ and their interaction rate with publics’ health in Bangladesh and other south Asian countries as well. From an assumption, there are lots of people out there, who are now suffering from this toxicity and suspiciously many will be in future. This will turn in a devastating matter globally. Proper initiatives should be taken by the drug law enforcing committee. If it is not done at very soon then both the government as well as general people of south Asian countries will have to face a great challengeto solve this problem in near future because the solution is not easy anymore.

Nur A Safa is an undergrad student at department of pharmacy in East West University. She can be reached at nurewu14@gmail.com

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  1. good job <3

  2. Great….!!! 🙂

  3. You’ve imessrepd us all with that posting!

  4. Thanks for shgainr. Always good to find a real expert.

  5. Good point. I hadn’t thohugt about it quite that way. 🙂

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