Underprivileged patients coming to Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital are at the receiving end, as a number of medicines are not available at the hospital's Jan Aushadhi Generic Drug Store and dispensary.
HT in its report “Jan Aushadhi store not open 24x7, does not have half the medicines” had on January 9 highlighted the shortage of medicines at the store.
However, almost a month later, the situation has not changed.
There are nearly 250 medicines that are provided free of cost by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation to needy patients, but the civil hospital has only about 225 medicines, as per official records. To make matters worse, the available quantity of medicines is not enough, and thus many patients are left with no option but to buy medicines from outside.
As per norms, it is mandatory for doctors at the hospital to prescribe medicines available with the hospital on priority, and advise medicine from outside only if really necessary.
A patient, Santosh Kumari, 65, said, “I was told that all medicines will be provided to me free of cost at the hospital itself. But they gave me just two medicines out of four prescribed by the doctor and asked me to buy the remaining from a medical store located outside.”
Kumarai said it was difficult for an underprivileged patient to buy costly medicines, and hospital should provide all medicines to them free of cost.
Similarly, 28-year-old Gagandeep Singh could not get all his medicines for de-addiction.
Gagandeep said doctors had advised medicines for two weeks, and these medicines were really costly. “Poor patients come to the civil hospital as they cannot bear the cost of medicines, but they feel harassed when they are asked to buy medicines from outside the hospital,” Gurpreet added.
The hospital also does not have enough stock of rabies vaccine. Therefore, dog-bite victims are provided with just one dose, instead of the required five.
Shiv Ram Saroye, member of Jan Rogi Kalyan Samiti, said, “Doctors need to prescribe medicines which are available within the hospital. But the fact is that the hospital doesn't have adequate stock of medicines and thus patients have to suffer.”
Senior medical officer Dr RK Karkara said, “A large number of patients visit the hospital daily, and the quantity of medicines we receive is not enough to deal with the number of patients. But still we try to provide maximum medicines within the hospital itself.”