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Patients do not get all medicines under CM free medicine scheme

Patients feel if the state government has made all medicines free, they should get them at the SMS hospitals, but there was hardly any visiting patient at the hospital who said he had got all the medicines

jaipur Updated: Jul 23, 2018 22:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan News
Patients outside the drug distribution centre at SMS hospital in Jaipur. (Prabhakar Sharma/ HT Photo)

Rakesh Kumar Saini, 17, a patient from Thanagazi in Alwar district, was prescribed medicines by a urologist of the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur. After waiting for hours in the queue, when he reached the window of drug distribution centre at the hospital to get the medicines free, he was told that one medicine was unavailable. Phoolaram Yadav, 23, a thyroid patient from Srimadhopur in Sikar district, said she too did not get the medicine prescribed by the hospital doctor.

There were many like Saini and Yadav, who visit the state’s premier hospital in the hope of getting the medicines free under the Chief Minister’s Free Medicine Scheme, but most of them do not get all the medicines.

Patients feel that when the state government has made all medicines free, then they should get it from the drug distribution centre and there should be no need to purchase them from the market, but there was hardly any visiting patient at the hospital, who said he had got all the medicines.

Govind Singh, who had come to the hospital from Jasora village in Bharatpur district to collect medicines for his grandfather Duregesh, a heart patient, said, “Doctor has prescribed seven medicines, of which four were not available. It is really a big problem. I never get all the medicines prescribed by the doctor.”

Sakshi, 20, who suffered from stomach ailment, did not get even a single of three medicines prescribed by the hospital doctor. “Earlier too, no medicines were available and I had to buy them from the cooperative store, she added.

Vishnu Kumar, an attendant at the hospital, said, “As most of the people coming from outside Jaipur to SMS hospital know that medicines are given free here, so they do not carry much money with them. When they do not get any medicine free, they have to buy it from shops. They either run out of money or do not buy medicines, as they have to go back to their village too.”

The outpatient department (OPD) of the SMS hospital receives 10,000 patients daily. The hospital is often short of 30%-40% medicines.

“Availability of medicines is 80% and the medicines that are not in stock are purchased and given to patients. The situation has improved over last few years, as earlier there used to be shortage of 30% medicines,” said Dr DS Meena, the medical superintendent of the SMS Hospital.

He said, “If patients do not get free medicines, then there are cooperative stores, lifeline stores and on July 4, two Jan Aushadhi Kendras have been opened, where patients can buy medicines on cheaper prices.”

He said, “It is responsibility of the Rajasthan State Medical Services Corporation (RSMSC) Limited, which procures medicines to be given free under CM Free Medicine Scheme, to supply all the medicines for which the indents are sent.”

Under the scheme, RSMSC supplies 602 medicines, 137 surgical items and 77 sutures to the hospitals.

RSMSC managing director Mahavir Prasad Sharma said, “There are sufficient stocks of medicines available. Even today against 606 medicines, there are 567 medicines available. As far as shortage of 39 medicines is concerned, there are some practical problems such as bidding is awaited for some medicines, while order has been placed and supply is awaited for a few medicines.”

He said in 2016-17, medicines worth Rs 310 crore were purchased, in 2017-18, medicines worth Rs 630 crore were purchased and in 2018-19, medicines worth Rs 300 crore have been purchased in the first quarter from April to June.

The Rajasthan government launched the free medicine scheme on October 2, 2011. Under the scheme, patients are supposed to get free medicines at the government health facilities including hospitals associated with medical colleges, district hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres and sub centres. The scheme was launched for 300 medicines with a budget of Rs 100 crore. On completion of one year of the scheme on October 2, 2012, the free medicines were increased to 600 with budget of Rs 300 crore.

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 22:26 IST