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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

New drug procurement policy to break drug co-mafia nexus

Rajesh Kumar Singh, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, July 19, 2013
First Published: 12:37 IST(19/7/2013) | Last Updated: 12:40 IST(19/7/2013)

To break the hold of pharmaceutical companies’-Mafia syndicate over drug supply to government hospitals, the state government has planned to bring a new drug procurement policy.

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The aim of the new policy is to make the process of drug purchase transparent and ensure supply of quality drug to government hospitals.

Till now, a high-level purchase committee constituting top health department officials approved the annual drug procurement policy. But now, the health department has decided to get the approval of the state cabinet for it.

Health and family welfare minister Ahmed Hasan told HT the state government was committed to ending corruption in the purchase of the drug.

“We have decided to provide quality drug to patients in the government hospitals. Once the drug procurement process gets the stamp of the cabinet, it could not be amended,” he said.

A health department officer said the purchase policy for equipment like X-ray machine, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound machine etc would be changed too.

Each year, the health department spends over Rs. 300 crore on the purchase of drugs while another Rs. 100 crore is spent on purchase of medical instruments and equipment installed in the government hospitals.

“We have detected several anomalies in the purchase of drugs,” an officer said, adding, “Even as renowned pharmaceutical companies bag the contract, it’s the middle men who supply drug to government hospitals.”

The chief medical officers (CMOs) were oblivious to the fact that whether the drug was from a branded pharmaceutical company or some local unit.

To check the role of middlemen, we have decided to sign contract with minimum 10 pharmaceutical companies and their list would be sent directly to the CMOs, the officer said.

Also, the procurement process would be decentralised with 20% of purchasing being done by the central medicine store department (CMSD) and 80% by the CMOs.

Under the new procurement policy, the companies would be categorically told to supply new instruments and equipment instead of just refurbishing the old ones.

Moreover, to end the earlier practice of machines lying as junk, CMOs would be asked to ensure their utilisation.

The new procure-ment policy would help in breaking the hold of Mafia elements over drug supply through a modern and transparent approach.

“It has been noticed that under a nexus between babus and Mafia, the copy of health department’s district-wise budget was accessible to the latter. Now, the copy would directly be sent to the CMO,” said another health department official.


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