From April, running around in search of medicines in the middle of the night will come to an end and so will your worries.
The Centre has decided to set up pharmacies selling subsidised medicines open 24x7 at three of its hospitals in Delhi —Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) and Lady Hardinge.
"Doctors ask patients to get medicines at night, forcing attendants to go running around the city at odd hours. With the new arrangement, people will know where to go for affordable medicine," said Union health secretary Sujatha Rao, who met the medical superintendents of the three hospitals on Friday.
"We want patients to get affordable medicines at all times of the day. If this model is successful, we will request all government hospitals to set up pharmacies that are open round the clock."
All three hospitals have been asked to find space for pharmacies, which would also stock medicines at subsidized rates.
Two proposals have been shortlisted for the same — one for a kiosk selling generic medicines run by ministry of chemical and fertilizer's Jan Aushadhi outlets that sells low-cost generic medicine, and the other for a chemist shop selling all types of medicines at subsidized prices. Tenders will be floated in a month.
At present the modalities are being worked out and the players are expected to be decided in March.
Rao said the Central Design Bureau for Medical and Health Buildings, under the Directorate General of Health Services, will provide the health infrastructure needed for the project.
Most government hospitals provide medicine to everyone admitted for treatment but shortages often force patients to buy drugs from the private sector. "Though the proposal is still in a fluid state, we will have a clearer picture within a week to 10 days," said a doctor at Lady Hardinge Medical College.