Consumer activists reject new laws

  • Criminal Code and Public Health Act
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 27, 2018-

Consumer rights activists have denounced the government for implementing laws without proper study, lack of surveillance and regulation of health sector and services.

The medical fraternity and other stakeholders have criticised the recently implemented Criminal Code and Public Health Act.

Forum for Protection of Consumers’ Rights General Secretary Baburam Humagain said, “The law came in a disabled form without consulting experts in the field. The government’s negligence has affected the public.”

Doctors have put pressure on the government to implement their demands at the earliest. Doctors said they are working under pressure because of the clauses mentioned in criminal code.

Nepal Medical Association Joint-treasurer Dr Prakash Budhathoki said, “The amendment inhibits us from performing our duty properly. This has led to referring critical patients. The government has still not defined carelessness and recklessness in health service clearly.”

Government has warned doctors to perform their duties honestly saying ‘there is still time to amend the law’.

Delegated Management and Government Assurance Committee Chairperson Ram Narayan Bidari said, “We passed the code in a hurry, since we had very less time. Even if implemented, we can still amend it. We shall consult all stakeholders regarding the amendment.”

The government has assured the medical fraternity of conducting thorough investigation because of many reports of service seekers falsely accusing hospital staff of negligence when they had made no mistake.

Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Ram Prasad Acharya said, “We are tired of depatching security forces to protect hospital staff from violent protests by patient’s family members. After investigation, many times hospital staffers are found to be innocent.”

Consumer rights activists have urged the government to fix a uniform rate to avail health services so that people do not have to pay different amounts to avail the same services in different hospitals.

The Association of Private Health Institutions of Nepal (APHIN) General Secretary Homraj Dahal said, “We are ready to accept the government’s rates. However, the government should be precise.”

The government, vide Clause 28 of the Public Health Act, has ordered health service providers to prescribe medicine in its generic (chemical name of a drug) name.

Association of Pharmaceutical Producers of Nepal Chairperson Deepak Prasad Dahal said, “Medicines with generic names are far cheaper than the ones sold by branded pharmaceutical companies. If medicines are prescribed by generic name, many patients would be able to afford them.”

Many doctors argue they would not prescribe medicines with generic names until and unless the government assures the medicines are of same quality.

Department of Drug Administration Director General Narayan Prasad Dhakal said, “Medicines known by their generic names are available in pharmacies. They are of similar quality as those known by brand names. Doctors can and should prescribe medicines in their generic name.”

Published: 27-09-2018 07:29

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