The purpose of this article is to draw attention of the Rt. Hon. Minister of Health & Quality of Life, Mr. Anil Gayan S.C. and « the highly qualified medical officers » at the headquarters on the 5th storey of Emmanuel Anquetil Building regarding the quality of generic-non proprietary drugs being dispensed in the Governmental medical institutions. Generic or Non-Proprietary names reflect the name of the active ingredients — having no brand name and is not protected by a registered trademark.
In my humble opinion, the Ministry of Health in any Government of any country is the most important one as it provides medical care for the welfare of its citizens and it is good to remember that the purpose of politics is also to care for people and their welfare.
Life is a mystery and is sacred and it is one of the five secrets which only almighty God is aware of. With time each individual is programmed to leave this beautiful planet earth. Death is inevitable — in fact nothing dies, all things change. This is the fundamental truth. As commonly mistaken sickness has nothing to do with death. It is the fear associated with having a disease which disturbs and weakens the whole system.
The recent statement from Mr. Anil Gayan regarding methadone is highly deplorable to say the least. It has caused innumerable anxieties and fear among newly addicted patients.
In the financial year 2014, the Ministry of Health spent the colossal sum of approximately Rs. 675 millions on the purchase of generic drugs. It is legitimate to ask if appropriate tests are being done to check the effectiveness of these drugs. Chemical analysis is of limited value. What is needed is the bio-availability which cannot be done in Mauritius. It appears that this test has never been requested.
Recently, 700 generic drugs from India have been banned from Europe following through reliable bio-availability investigations.
Non-communicable disease is rife in Mauritius and it affects mostly the middle-aged and elderly  population. Many elderly patients have poor vision, yet they rely on the colour of the tablets being dispensed. Is it normal that every 3-6 months, the colours of tablets are changed? For instance, Verapamil used in the treatment of certain cardiac irregularities and high blood pressure changed from orange to white. Methyl-Dopa used in treatment of hypertension changed from brown to white. These are just a few examples.
The Republic of Mauritius has a population of 1,261,721 as at December 2014. The total number of doctors in the Government medical institutions is 1077 and 1352 for the private sector and thus a total of 2429 at the same period.
This gives a ratio of 19.3 per 10000 people. This ratio is highly superior to most African and Asian countries and compares favorably well with many European countries, such as UK – 28.1; Belgium 29.9 and France – 31.9.
There is no shortage of medical doctors including the specialists in the Ministry of Health of Mauritius.
The problems of addicts and those affected by AIDS are directly correlated with public health and as such reducing the use of disposable syringe and not mentioning the alternative to the use to methadone should be rejected outright.
Generic Drugs should only be brought when the pharmaceutical company provides reliable bio-availability test. The purchase of Generic Drugs from different pharmaceutical companies without reliable bio-availability tests should not be done as there is no guarantee regarding its effectiveness.
Is the public aware that many overseas surgeons operating on complicated cardiac cases in Mauritius insist on patent drugs being used both pre and post operative surgery? There is an obvious valid reason for this.
To conclude, this is to kindly remind Mr. Anil Gayan that he has a double responsibility towards the whole population. With over 35 years of experience in medical practice, I have the strong conviction that there should never ever be any discrimination when it comes to treating any patient whether be it addicts or those suffering from AIDS.
Any human being on this planet should have the care needed to lead a normal life which is priceless.