ACUTE diarrhoeal diseases are among the leading causes of mortality in infants and young children in many developing countries. In most cases, death is caused by dehydration.
Dehydration from diarrhoea can be prevented by giving extra fluids at home or it can be treated simply, effectively and cheaply in all age-groups, but the most severe cases, giving patients by mouth an adequate glucose-electrolyte solution called oral rehydration salts (ORS) solution.
Unfortunately, the huge increase in prices of the medicines is most likely to hit the poor as they are extensively used to treat infections due to change in weather. The rate of branded ORS has been increased from Rs10 per packet to Rs27.
According to DRA, the plea taken by the companies is that the names of the ORS are not among the list of 821 drugs whose prices were regulated by the DRA under SRO 471/(1)/93, issued on June 12, 1993.
Some companies infer from that SRO that all other approved drugs, not included in the list, come under the deregulated drugs and they can increase the prices without DRA’s approval.
The ORS is used in gastro-enteritis and for dehydration. A common man cannot afford this.