Costly procurement of de-addiction tablets under Punjab govt’s lens
According to an estimate by the officials of PHSC, the government shelled out ₹20 crore extra to purchase this de-addiction drug each year after the rate contract was allotted to the firm on January 8, 2020
Almost double increase in rate contract of a private firm done in the previous Congress government to purchase de-addiction drug Buprenorphine has come under scanner, with the department issuing notice to the firm for supplying the same drug on almost half of the rate to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.
The firm has been called to explain its position by Punjab health system corporation (PHSC) that purchases the drugs from the private firm to further use it for de-addiction after the matter was raked up at the different levels in the government citing it a “big scam” where the cut has been kept from per tablet.
According to an estimate by the officials of PHSC, the government shelled out ₹20 crore extra to purchase this de-addiction drug each year after the rate contract was allotted to the firm on January 8, 2020.
The firm which is supplying the tablet to PHSC at the rate of ₹6.52 per tablet through the fresh rate contract supplied the same drug with same salt to AIIMS on the rate less than ₹3.8 per tablet.
Under the previous rate contract dated September 26, 2017, done by the same company after technical bids, the drug was being supplied to PHSC at the rate of ₹3.75 per tablet.
Punjab purchases almost 7 crore tablets every year to distribute it to the addicts through de-addiction and OOAT clinics.
Notably, as per the expansion in the de-addiction infrastructure and the opening of new OOAT clinics, the demand by end of this year is likely to touch 10 crore tablets.
The tender single handedly handled by the firm has ended early this year and in the fresh tenders, four firms have been allotted the rate contract. The firm in contention has been allotted the tenders for 15% of the supplies in the fresh tenders as well.
“The biggest point of contention is why no question was raised on the tenders when the firm in contention increased the rates to almost double in 2020. Why did the PHSC accept the higher rates and who pushed for the procurement of these tablets on double rates?,” an insider in the PHSC said.
Few senior officials in the department have also revealed that as the procurement was pushed by a top rank official from the department, efforts are being made to hush-up the matter as well.
Managing Director, PHSC, Neelima, did not reply to repeated calls and texts sent on the issue. Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Ajoy Sharma said the firm has been asked to explain as to why they were supplying the same drugs to AIIMS at much lower rates.
“As far as I know, the firm has been asked to explain its position in a day or two. PHSC MD can well explain the issue,” said the secretary.