The public medical stores at the Government Rajindra Medical College and Hospital (GRMCH) are facing acute shortage of medicines which are provided on free of cost basis to patients, due to the apathetic attitude of the state health department .
Against the department's tall claims to provide more than 150 free medicines and injections, the GRMCH drug stores have around 30 of these only. This is hampering the free medicine scheme which has been re-launched in the state last year after a gap of three decades.
The shortage of the medicines in hospital drug stores have been forcing patients admitted in the wards and the outdoor patient department (OPD) visitors to purchase prescribed medicines from private chemist shops at higher rates.
Due to acute crunch of medicines, the pharmacists at the drug stores have started putting 'out of stock' stamps on prescription slips of the patients and guiding them to buy the medicines from private pharmacists.
The only multi-specialty government hospital in the region, the GRMCH largely caters to the health care needs of the people who can hardly afford expensive medical facilities in private hospitals.
The state government had launched the free medicine scheme in all government health institutions but delay in providing the essential drugs in the very first year of its implementation has exposed the inability of the health department to provide better health facilities.
The hospital authorities had last purchased the stock of essential drugs worth Rs 45 lakh in April, 2013.
Seeking anonymity, a senior official said that besides the basic anti-biotic medicines, medicines needed for daily use have been almost exhausted at the hospital drug store for over a month.
"Paucity of medicines is caused by delay on the part of doctors in submitting the demand list pertaining to medicines often prescribed by them and then the delay by the state health authorities in provide these medicines to the drug store", an official said.
As per available information, hospital authorities have placed fresh orders to procure medicines worth Rs 55 lakh during the last week of November, 2013, but no medicines have been provided till date.
Medical superintendent VK Sharda said they are hopeful of getting the recquisitioned medicines by the next week as they have already sent a proposal to the higher authorities for this purpose.
"The samples of proposed medicines have been passed recently and senior authorities have asked us to immediately place orders with fresh requirements. However, medicines available with us presently in our drug stores are issued to patients on free basis", he said.