Determined to curb wastage of medicines and corrupt practices, the Maharashtra government is mulling getting all medicine procurement processes under one pool by conducting tendering for medicines online.
Currently, the public health department and medical education department buy medicines worth Rs 350 crore, of which Rs 75 crore is spent by the latter, for their hospitals and health care centres using different methods. In the absence of coordination between the two departments, there is duplication of medicines, which results in stock lying unused.
As part of the revamp, the government also plans to prepare a database of medicines that are given for free under the Maharashtra List of Essential Medicines (MLEM), so the annual procurement gets distributed between the two departments.
“There will be a complete overhaul in the medicine procurement system, in consultation with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The quantity of generic drugs required annually will be procured through an online tendering process by both the departments. This will bring in transparency and ensure only the required quantity is obtained, thus reducing chances of duplication or wastage,” public health minister Deepak Sawant told Hindustan Times
Sawant said the medicines used in various national health programmes and emerging infections will be added to the list current of 422 essential medicines, while those that are not in use will be removed.
Under the previous government, while the Congress had replaced the pre-decided rate contract system with the online procurement system in the public health department -- which made the medicines 25% cheaper -- the medical education department headed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had resisted the move.