Medicine stock at GMCHs depleting, dues of drugs companies mounting

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Jun 2018 09:50:01


Staff Reporter,

State Government sanctions funds but Haffkine Institute, assigned to make medicine purchases, remains unpaid

Maharashtra Government is ensuring transparency in procurement of medicines for its hospitals but has failed to finalise modalities leaving the patients in a lurch across the State. Such is the state of affairs at Government Medical College and Hospitals (GMCH) that they have meagre stock of necessary medicines. To add to the woes, the hospitals are borrowing necessary drugs from medicine companies and not clearing the bills of crores of rupees.

With hospitals running out of medicine stock, the patients are being asked to procure medicines from open market which is a Herculean task for most of them. The Government might have taken a just stand to weed out irregularities in bulk purchase of drugs but its own internal contradictions are playing out resulting in creating a mega mess.

Post-controversy over procurements of medicines, the Government named a committee headed by former Director General of Police (DGP) Praveen Dixit to work out new norms. Dixit got to bottom of the entire matter and ensured that every purchase was justified. But the Government disbanded the Dixit-led committee.

By issuing a Government Resolution (GR) in August 2017, the Government asked Haffkine Institute to carry out the bulk purchases of medicines required for the public hospitals in the State. Vide the GR, the Government instructed all the GMCHs not to purchase medicines or surgical items on their own.

The total budget of medicines for all 16 government-run hospitals in State is above Rs 130 crore. Following the August GR, drug purchase in all GMCHs has come to halt.
As fund for purchasing medicines was not handed over to Haffkine Institute, considering the patients’ needs, GMCHs had to borrow medicines from the companies. The dues of drug companies mounted in the range between Rs 1.50 crore and 7 crore on various medical colleges and hospitals.
Meanwhile, while talking to ‘The Hitavada’, Sanjay Deshmukh, Secretary of Medical Education, said, “Orders for release of Rs 95 crore grant have been issued to all institutions with instructions that 50 per cent would be spent for new purchase of medicines meant for Haffkine Institute and 50 per cent for the pending bills.

Additional Rs 40 crore are also released.” This amount, what the official informed, is too meagre. For example, a GMC in Western Maharashtra running with the dues of Rs 1.50 crore of medicine companies. It got Rs 2 crore from the Rs 135 crore of a total release. If it pays Rs 1.50 crore dues it will have only Rs 50 lakh which are insufficient. If supportive arrangement is not made within a month, the situation may worsen, said a former Dean.