W Bengal : Pharmacy owners attack junior docs for prescribing generic drugs
Kalyani (West Bengal): A mob of pharmacy owners attacked a group of junior doctors at a government hospital in Kalyani, Bengal, on Monday night for prescribing generic medicines instead of branded names.
A little before Monday midnight, some junior doctors on duty at the College of Medicine and Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Hospital (CMJNMH), Kalyani, were sipping tea at a kiosk near the hospital gate when they were surrounded by a mob.
The men abused the doctors for prescribing generic drugs, and after a heated exchange assaulted them. Hearing the commotion, more doctors rushed out of the hospital. At this, one of the attackers took out a gun and held it to a doctor's head. Before leaving, they threatened the doctors with dire consequences.
The junior doctors were merely following a 2013 state government order making it mandatory for them to issue prescriptions with generic names instead of branded medicines.
All government-run hospitals now have fair-price medicine shops selling ge- neric medicines and offering discounts of 60-70% on the maximum retail price, making them much affordable. This has, obviously, led to loss of business for pharmacies in the vicinity of hospitals.
"Some of those operating medicine shops near the hospital have been complaining of slump in sales. They had threatened us earlier but we never imagined they would come armed and assault us," said one of the doctors who did not want to be named.
In protest, the junior doctors decided to go on strike on Tuesday morning, but the hospital administration managed to prevent it after holding a series of meetings with them and the district police. The hospital later lodged a police complaint, but none has been arrested yet.
"The police as well as the hospital administration have assured to provide security to the junior doctors," said CMJNMH principal Santanu Banerjee.