Ever since January this year, antibiotics have been in a short supply at Safdarjung Hospital, inconveniencing both patients and doctors.
Poor patients have had to buy most basic drugs like metrogyl and augmentin, which are prescribed for bacterial infections. And the problem is common across departments — ENT, gastroenterology, eye, gynaecology, etc.
"Antibiotics are expensive and for a poor patient, they are completely out of bounds," said a doctor. "The stores say they don't have stock. We have sent several complaints to the higher authorities but to no avail," he added.
But the hospital administration denied any shortage. "No such problem has come to my notice. There is a steady supply of drugs," said Dr BD Athani, medical superintendent at Safdarjung Hospital.
"There are 800 products which come to the hospital stores. There may be some interruptions here and there but the problem is never constant," he said.
Even at Delhi government's Lok Nayak Hospital, basic drugs are being denied to patients for the past one month. A patient had to even write to the chief justice
of Delhi High Court to intervene.
A resident of Paharganj, Shiv Charan, 80, who has been undergoing treatment for type II diabetes depends on Lok Nayak for his regular supply of medicines.
"For the last one month, I have visited the hospital almost every day asking them if new stock has come but the answer is always a no," he said.
And here, too, the hospital's reply was the same as Safdarjung's. "No such shortage has been brought to my notice. Moreover, the doctors concerned are allowed to purchase certain drugs from their department budget in case of emergency," said a senior administrative official at Lok Nayak.
HT also checked with several patients who said they had been asked to purchase the drugs on their own because of non availability in the hospital stores.
"My wife Sania is down with a severe throat infection. The doctor had written some medicines. I got only two out of three. They asked me to buy the most expensive one from the market," said Ram Kumar from Chandrwal. His wife is admitted at Safdarjung Hospital.