The comptroller auditor general (CAG), in its latest annual report, has criticised the administration of all the three government hospitals in the city for failing to provide affordable medicines on hospital premises.
Three different reports prepared by CAG for Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, questioned the hospitals for not ensuring availability of affordable drugs by chemists on their premises.
Giving a reference of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi, the report of GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 said, "AIIMS is the first government hospital to start a 24x7 pharmacy shop inside its premises which provides all medicines and surgical consumables prescribed by its doctors to the OPD patients at 56% discount on MRP across the board."
The CAG report further observed that the cost of manufacturing a drug was relatively low, but medicines were being sold at inflated prices.
"There are abnormally high trade margins with unregulated and unethical drug promotion. There is a nexus between drug companies, stockists, retailers, medical representatives, and some medical practitioners, which, in disproportion, inflate prices of the medicines and over-all treatment," said the report.
"By selling drugs at inflated prices, big companies and retailers pocket a large unjustified share of the money paid by the consumer," the report pointed.
It also observed that a majority of the consumers were from the lower income strata of the society who could not afford costly medicines.
Similar observations were made about GMSH-16 and PGIMER. The CAG also asked these hospitals to open chemist shops on the pattern of AIIMS, in which the chemists gave a discount of 56% on all medicines and surgical items.
The audit report also criticised GMSH-16 for providing lesser discount compared to other hospitals. The PGIMER is at an advanced stage of opening one such shop, which will offer 57% discount on all the items.