The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, has found that a large quantity of substandard drugs has been supplied to government hospitals by pharmaceutical firms.
The agency is probing the NRHM scam in Lucknow as well as 72 districts on the directions of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court.
The CBI's finding was that firms that got the tender to supply drugs sold sub-standard varieties to government hospitals. CBI sleuths found the director general (medical health) floated a tender for the supply of branded drugs. Instead of well-known pharmaceutical companies, local firms managed to grab the contract with the connivance of health department officers.
While scanning the documents of Moradabad-based Jain Medical, a pharmaceutical wholesaler, a CBI officer found the firm got the contract to supply drugs worth Rs 3 crore to government hospitals in 24 districts. Instead of supplying branded drugs, the firm allegedly slipped in unbranded products of some Lucknow-based firms.
No one in Jain Medical was willing to comment on this.
When the stocks of hospitals and the Central Medical Store Department (CMSD) were checked, the investigators discovered only one-fifth of the drugs were branded while the remaining substandard.
Also, the firms made a profit of 500% on supply. Recently the CBI raided the offices of various firms. Sources said the probe against some pharmaceutical firms was on.
"The racket flourished with the support of health department officers," a source said, adding, "how is it that the officers could not detect that sub-standard drugs had been supplied to the districts?"
The CBI plans to question all district magistrates and chief medical officers as they hold top posts of district health societies. Some IAS and UP civil service officers who were in the health and family welfare department are on the CBI radar for their alleged role in the Rs 3,500-crore scam.