Color Coded Medicine in North Nazimabad

Posted on December 11, 2010
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Health & Disease, Photo of the Day
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Owais Mughal

On my last visit to Pakistan I got a sore throat. My family offered to take me to a doctor in Block B of North Nazimabad who was both ‘acha aur sasta’ (good and cheap). He was ‘acha’ because he had an authentic MBBS degree and ‘sasta’ because he charged a flat fee of Rs 5 per day only no matter whether you had common cold or had an acute case of Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanosconiosis (<-- this is a legitimate disease by the way). Ok. since my family had got me on 'acha aur sasta', I went along and got my own medicine which came with a surprise. The doctor asked me which color of medicine would I prefer. Not completely understanding the question I mechanically uttered "g g green" and a green color syrup I got in next 5 minutes. After we came home, I collected all the bottles from all the patients of this doctor we had in our household and took the following group photo of everybody's medicine. See my cute little green bottle - standing second from the right.

I asked the doctor that why does he do that? He told me that the rationale behind color coded medicine is that it prevents accidental wrong use in a houshold so that Parveen doesn’t drink Nasreen’s syrup and Parvez stays away from Nasir’s. I thought about it for 5 seconds. It made some sense but there still was a chance of error because this scheme was not completely ‘poka-yoke’ (mistake proof) but I kept quiet thinking this was not a time to do Buqratiat (acting smart).

This doctor offers to color code his medicine not only according to number of patients in the household but also by how many ailments a patient has got.

So for example, one scheme can be Chunoo Mian gets yellow syrup, Surraya gets red syrup and Hidayatullah Saheb gets green syrup. The other scheme can be that daada abba’s ‘weham’ (placebo) gets yellow syrup, tonic comes in red, a condition called ‘jia karay dhak dhak dhak’ (aka palpitations) gets green syrup and another condition called ‘akhion mein akhian dal ke na tak’ (aka comatose) gets blue syrup.

I took this medicine a year ago (2009). I survived and my sore throat got cured. I waited this whole year to write these lines in case some delayed reaction happened. But nothing happened. I think this doctor and his ways and means make Pakistan a more colorful place and that is what qualified him to be on these pages.

16 responses to “Color Coded Medicine in North Nazimabad”

  1. Owais Mughal says:

    @Sajjad. I believe it was Rs 5. Per day meant this colored syrup and a few tablets. Who knows this syrup is just ‘placebo effect’ and basically free of cost to the doctor.

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    @Farrukh. Smart idea. I believe using colored bottles will make the cost go high.

    @Nihari – :) You are right. This might very well be the delayed reaction of that green syrup

    @Sameer and Aneela- I agree. The colored syrups may have been nothing but just placebo effect.

    @Shahran – are you talking about ‘lal dawai’ – i remember this ‘lal dawai’ which was used on every kind of external injury.

  3. Sajjad Junaidi says:

    Owais, are you sure it was Rs 5, or was it Rs50? You did not explain what per day means. If you need to go again in the same day, he will see you at no extra cost.
    We had a doctor in our neighborhood who used to give coloured syrup but he only had three colours. His assistant used to empty few capsules in the syrup or grind few tablets to mix them in the syrup. His Nuskha used to say yellow three times a day and green just before going to bed.
    Then there was medical store next door, his nephew was running that place. Same doctor must be the owner as well. Without fail you would get a script to buy medicine from pharmacy.

  4. MQ says:

    I hope the doctor uses boiled water in these mixtures.

  5. SH Kavi says:

    So placebo works on you. How about that?

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