We Need More FDA Officers
THIS is with reference to the letter ‘On FDA oversight of imported fish’ by Adelmo Fernandes (NT, August 8, 2018). The sympathetic chord struck by the writer in favour of overworked FDA officials is appreciated. Nevertheless, the adverse effects of consuming formalin-contaminated fish are too well known and serious to be taken lightly or ignored. Hence, if it is felt that it is physically impossible for 18 food safety officers to check every crate of the large number of fish-laden trucks that enter Goa in the wee hours of the day then it is the duty of the state government to put more men on the job with improved technology, if it is really serious about the gravity of the situation. Secondly, as no system is 100 per cent foolproof, a certain amount of risk factors will continue to exist, even after all precautions are taken while testing. Calling for a permanent ban on the import of fish is no solution at all. One does not cut off the nose to spite a nasty cold.
A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM
Go For Generic Medicines
I suffer from gastro-intestinal problems for which the doctor has prescribed some tablets. Each capsule contains two genetic drugs viz. Rabeprazole 20 mg and Domperidone 30 mg. A strip of 10 capsules costs Rs 120. Recently a Jan Aushadi store selling generic medicines, was started in my neighbourhood. I visited the store and found people giving strips of medicines they take, to the pharmacist who gave them the equivalent in generic medicines. I too gave my strip of tablets to the pharmacist. He looked at it and then gave me a strip of 10 tablets having the same potency – Rabesprazole 20mg and Domperidone 30mg. And the cost was just Rs 14. Generic medicines contain the ‘active ingredients’ in tablets and other medicines that we normally consume. They are very cheap. However, pharmaceutical firms ‘garnished’ them with additives which have little or no therapeutic value and then sell the medicines under their brand name, hiking the price several times over. Thus a strip of tablets which we purchase for say Rs 100 may actually cost just Rs 10-12. Each batch of drugs procured by the government and sold by the Jan Aushadi store is tested by accredited laboratories thereby ensuring quality, safety and efficacy of medicines and conformance with required standards. In Goa while only one Jan Aushadi store is operational in Margao, over 30 such stores are set to open.
ROBERT CASTELLINO, MUMBAI