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‘26 dead patients consumed medicines’

india Updated: May 19, 2009 02:45 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times
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At least 26 patients admitted at the Tata Memorial Hospital during 2007-08 consumed cancer medicines after their death — if one goes by the memos issued by the hospital staff.

This and other facts came to light after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) began investigating the Rs 100-crore drug scam at the hospital.

The CBI busted the racket on Friday when it raided six staffers following information that cancer medicines from the hospital were illegally sold outside. These medicines were either meant for free distribution or to be given at discounted rates to patients. The medicines were issued by forging memos either in the names of dead patients or relatives of other patients without their knowledge.

During inquiries from hospital records and staffers who were raided, the CBI found that the medicines were issued in the names of dead patients 25 to 145 days after their death. The figures found by the CBI are only for one year and they would go up, as the scam is suspected to be on for the last four years.

“At present we are collecting records for 2007-08,” said a senior CBI official.

The maximum gap is for a patient who died on April 25, 2007 and medicines were issued on his name on September 17, 2007. Similarly, a patient who died on October 15, 2007, was issued medicines 95 days after his death on January 18, 2008. CBI officials said that the memos had case file numbers on it through which they are trying to find out the details of such patients.

The accused did not even spare doctors of the hospital and forged their prescriptions to illegally issue the medicines which were then sold to chemists at discounted rates. The CBI has so far found about 45 such prescriptions forged in 2007-08. “The accused forged signatures of doctors from within the hospital who have confirmed that they have not issued any such prescriptions,” the official said.

Among the major medicines which were illegally sold outside included “Fungizone” and Fungisone”, which costs from Rs 6,000 to Rs 15,000 a dose.

About the total number of forged memos issued by the accused, the official said it would take time to find out. “That is because everyday 300 to 400 memos were issued from which we have to check how many were forged,” the official said. This means in a year the number of memos issued were from 1,09,500 to 1,46,000.