PGI’s defunct unit received single call in 3 yrs

  • Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 30, 2014 11:42 IST

The drug information unit (DIU) at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, received just one call in three years from 2011 to 2013. But, in a research paper published by three doctors of the department of pharmacology, which runs the unit, claimed receiving 56 calls in one month. Quite contrary to this, the DIU received only 53 calls since its inception in 2003.

On July 28, HT had highlighted how a team of doctors at the PGIMER’s pharmacology department, including two resident doctors — Dr Pugazhenthan Thangaraju and Dr Hararmanjit Singh — and professor and head Dr Amitava Chakrvarty, published a study titled “Short Communication: Drug Information Unit as an Effective Tool for Promoting Rational Drug Use”. The study, supposedly conducted in 2013, was based on the calls received at the DIU that too at a time when the institute was lying defunct.

The unit addresses queries of doctors over phone related to various drugs and their adverse reactions. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research last year.

As per information with HT, the DIU which was started in 2003 did not receive total 56 calls — claimed in the study to have received in just one month — in its entire history of 11 years. It received total 53 calls between 2003 and July 2014.

Interestingly, in the three years in which the controversial study was conducted, the unit received only one call on February 20, 2013. As per the department records, this call was received from the department of ENT.

However, this call also seems fishy as it does not mention which doctor made the call and only mentioned that the call was received from the department of ENT. Interestingly, the years during which the study was claimed to be conducted, even the dedicated telephone line of the DIU was lying defunct.

Attempts to call Dr Chakrvarty remained unfruitful as his phone was switched off. His office staff said he was travelling abroad to attend a conference.

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