Amid much hue and cry over the alleged malpractice of chemists, the union health ministry has asked the administration of the Post- Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to open its own chemist shop.
In the PGIMER governing body’s meeting held in Delhi on Wednesday, which was chaired by union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, the institute was asked to work on a plan to run its own pharmacy in the coming days.
According to sources, the union ministry also made it clear to the institute to shut all chemist shops selling medicines on inflated prices.
Confirming the development, PGIMER director Dr YK Chawla said, “The matter was discussed in detail during the meeting and the union minister has asked us to look into the feasibility to run the institute’s own pharmacy. The aim behind the move is to provide medicines on reasonable rates to patients. However, we are yet to receive minutes of the meeting after which we will start working on the issue.”
On the other hand, Chandigarh Chemist Association president Khem Gupta said, “It will never be an easy task for the PGIMER authorities to start a pharmacy. The move will affect emergency services. Private shops can easily procure medicines instead of government nomenclature. We are not against the move, but this will not be a solution.”
He further said, “It will be a futile exercise only. Instead of all this, the PGIMER should reduce the rents of chemist shops.”
The development is seen significant as the poor patients coming to the PGIMER to get medical aid at reasonable rates were allegedly being robbed at the hands of chemists selling medicines at high rates without any discount. The institute generates revenue of more than Rs 30 crore from the auction of around 16 chemist shops every year.