Sunday, August 22, 2010

My two-wheeler diaries - Week 3 - a broad spectrum indeed

Time for the two wheeler diaries this week. Well, this week went from life savers to everyday medicines all the way to pooch care! And while the nuts-and-bolts level of learning was interesting, what I saw in terms of psychology and reality was even more interesting!

So, life savers. Let me be frank here. But observing the need for life savers at public hospitals or public-private places is heart rending. Those people, who throng the hospital in drones need the help. And without the concept of Government health care or Medical insurance, the financial implications are terrible! And this isn't an issue just here in India. The US has this issue of deep-reaching health care too. While the afforders can avail themselves of medical help, the poorer ones end up being on the wrong side of the life expectancy statistic! And earlier this week, when there were furious debates on the whole NDM -1 gene, although the debate was on a topic as frivolous as its nomenclature, one aspect that did come out was the unfettered use of antibiotics. And this is a reality, in the Indian context, given that there is no law to control OTC drug sales. I myself saw a chemist self medicating, and asking for certain prescription drugs and it was up to us to tell him to first see a doctor. But so many people, he said, walked up and bought drugs that had been prescribed earlier by a doctor for certain symptoms, that recurred! Scary? Yes indeed. Mutant strains of malaria are on the rise, which are resistant to antibiotics, and an unbridled use of super strong drugs can have terrible implications for the Indian race in itself!

Everyday drugs. Now, a scary trend here is that of people not completing prescriptions. The ailments can be simple. And if a dosage has been prescribed, more often than not, people stop the medicines once they find an ounce of relief! And they perhaps don't quite get the perils of such behavior at all! And knowledge of medicines amongst the rural illiterate population is a matter of worry. Since, one, they don't know anything about the science of medicines. And second, the supply through uncontrolled chemist shops stokes their ignorant behavior to a point of unabashed misuse!

And finally animal health. But more on animal health after I am done with all of it this week.

Meantime, a moment to talk about traveling. Some time back, there was a hue and cry on Shashi Tharoor calling the economy class on flights cattle class. Well, now I realize why they raised hue and cry. Because they felt that Dr. Tharoor was being very pro-upper echelons of society by disregarding the real cattle class. And I mean that the real sorry state of affairs exists in the common man's mode of road transport - the bus. Especially the inter-city ones. These buses are old, they rattle even on a super smooth expressway. They toss you high into the air on the other arterial roads that are not as good as the expressway. But God bless the Expressway, for keeping distances down and speeds up. As if the rattling were insufficient, these buses run packed. People undertake 2 hour long journeys standing up in the aisles. And there are some other fun aspects too. Like if the bus happens to stop at a large depot at a town on the way, where some people typically get down, expectant faces peep in through the window and throw bags, handkerchiefs and what not on the imminently emptying seats! Not just one bag, but a whole handful is sometimes tossed in! But squeezed into such a rumbling, rolling vehicle, you realize that one one hand, you have the Ferraris and Jaguars zooming into India, while a greater majority still travels as a foursome on a scooter.

So the learning was immense and the expectations are still higher for the week to come.


Anonymous said...

Awesome website, I had not come across before in my searches!
Carry on the great work!

Anonymous said...

1. Why not consult a doc? I wonder why you rich people always come up with such things and feel surprised. Well, although you seem to have travelled to real India now, you are still away from it. Its like SRK in that movie where he tries to create a hydroelectric plant to light a bulb. Hilarious. Self medication becomes essential - a) becoz they don't have extra money to pay to doc as well b) the docs always prescribe the same medicines. I have myself syeen so many times. 1 Antibiotic, 1 Vitamin, 1 Paracetamol and 1 Cough Syrup. Always. Prescription after Prescription. So, don't hit at the branch, find the root.

2. Unfinised Meds? Again money. Why spend more if you are already feeling fine? Duty lies more with Pharma companies (and their reps) to educate. And not just make money under the disguise of education. I remember an 'educational campaign' for, I think, Cervical cancer by a Drug company. I was impressed. Only I found out later that only they had the drug licenses in India. Now, we knew why they were educating the 'customers' and not patients.


Sindhu Subramaniam said...

Hey Earth,

I guess somewhere the common man needs to realize that a doctor is as good as the meds he prescribes. So, only then will we really realize that vaccine companies really educate! The issue lies in a hidden skepticism, since we doubt doctors, and pharma companies alike. But with the restriction on advertizing to the common man, we need to realize that there are limitations to actually reaching the common man. Plus, pharma also needs to make money to remain as an industry, just like FMCG or even medicine does for that matter.