Sale of antibiotics may be restricted in Kazakhstan29 november 2014, 13:35
The Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan has declared that it might soon restrict the free sale of antibiotics in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing the official response of the Ministry to an inquiry from Tengrinews.
In many countries antibiotics are sold only on a doctor’s prescription. "First a sick person goes to a doctor or a hospital, after a checkup the doctor prescribes pills. Only then the person can buy the pills from a pharmacy, including antibiotics. In this case, if a person for some reason decides to buy antibiotics from a pharmacy on his or her own, they will simply not be sold to her/him, since the turnover (sale) of drugs is strictly controlled by the relevant legislation," the Ministry said.
According to the existing legislation in Kazakhstan, medicinal products intended for sale with a medical prescription should not be sold without one. However, in reality “every person can buy antibiotics in a pharmacy without a prescription,” the Ministry says.
Moreover, Kazakhstanis extensively rely on self-treatment and do not hesitate to buy strong antibiotics, which is why the Ministry plans to limit the sale of antibiotics to the population without a proper prescription of a qualified physician.
This is due to the fact that incorrect and uncontrolled use of antibiotics can cause side effects (allergic reaction, seizures, decreased cardiac activity) and develop resistance and immunity of pathogens to the medicines. This means that the human health can be damaged both with respect to a particular organ and the whole human body, the Ministry stressed.
They didn’t go around the economic side of the problem either. The Ministry said that pharmaceutical companies use various methods to increase their sales, such as advertising and PR. "These techniques reinforce each other, which in turn can objectively affect both the prescriptions of doctors and the use by the population," the official response said.
However, a doctor’s prescription will not solve all the problems and the Ministry admits that. The other side of the problem is lack of alternatives to expensive medicine prescribed by doctors.
"From a consumer perspective, there is also a problem of providing alternative choices in prescribing drugs. Not every person can afford expensive drugs, therefore, in our opinion, it is necessary that doctors offer cheaper substitute products,” the agency said.
But some doctors in Kazakhstan have a practice of specifying the brand of the drug they prescribe, not just giving their international nonproprietary name. This is way the patients are often deprived of any choice, the Ministry believes.
Advertising of medicines, medical devices and medical equipment in Kazakhstan is governed by specific laws and is carried out with the permission of a particular government body. However, the Ministry admitted that the system needed some reforming and promised to prepare proposals for appropriate government bodies on a whole range of issues.
Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina