A week into the nationwide lockdown, there are reports that essential medicine are short in supply. Patients have complained that they have not been able to find their medicine in the market due to a number of reasons.
Here's what you can do:
(1) Call 011-23062487: The Centre has set-up a control room to monitor in real-time the status of transportation and delivery of essential commodities to the common man. This number is functional from 8 am to 6 pm. “The issue reported by the various stakeholders through this control room shall be taken up with the concerned State Governments, District and Police authorities and other concerned agencies."
(2) Write an email to email@example.com: In case you are not able to get through, you can write an email to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and raise your concern. “I wrote a mail on the following email address and complained about the unavailability of essential medicine at the Jan Aushadhi Kendra in Mata Anandmayee Hosptial in Shivala in Varanasi and it was delivered in two days,” Bejon Mishra, a consumer expert.
(3) Call the DM or DC of your district: All the district magistrates or deputy commissioners number is available on internet. In many states, DMs or DCs have circulated helpline numbers for residents. They have formed a response team that ensures the delivery of essential goods for needy patients. Some places even cops have volunteered to supply medicines or carry patients to hospitals.
(4) Call at the FDA office of the state: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the state governments have also come up with helpline numbers. Though these numbers are meant for mainly retailers and distributors, yet common man can raise the issue of unavailability of medicine in a particular area. “Ideally, I think the Central Drug Controller should write to the states to provide helpline numbers to consumers. People can call on these numbers and with the help of local drug inspectors the shortage of medicine can be resolved,” TV Narayana, National President, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), said.
(5) Try medicine firm’s local branch/different shops/online companies: Some consumers have said when they got tired of looking for a particular medicine, they found the manufacturer's local office and contacted them directly. Some people searched for chemist shops' numbers in other localities on Google and contacted them.
“It really worked. The medicine which I didn’t get at any Noida shop was available in the company's office in Delhi. Commuting was a problem due to lockdown but I showed doctor’s prescription to the cop and managed,” Shailesh Shekhar, a resident of Sector 93, Noida, said.
Some also said that one can find many essential medicine, which are not available at the local chemist shop, at online delivery apps of various companies. “They are really helpful. One should give it a try,” Nandini, a resident of Delhi, said.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine