Mumbai medicine suppliers hit back at BMC, give 33 reasons for late delivery
Manufacturers and suppliers of pharmaceutical drugs in the city wrote to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday, alleging some of them have been falsely declared as defaulters for failing to supply medicines to civic hospitals on time.
Last week, the BMC blacklisted one distributor, barred top four defaulters from taking part in the bidding process and issued notices to 10 distributors over shortage of medicines at civic hospitals across Mumbai.
In its letter, a lobby of distributors and manufacturers alleged flawed procurement and tendering process, delayed payments and a nexus between local medicine suppliers and storekeepers for the shortage of medicines at the civic hospitals. The lobby also listed ‘33 causes’ for delivering medicines late.
“We only supply 25% of total medicines required at BMC hospitals and dispensaries. The rest (75%) is either purchased locally or prescribed by the doctors to be bought from private pharmacies. We aren’t solely responsible for the shortage of medicines at the civic hospitals,” reads the letter.
“Mostly, five signatories are required to place a purchase order (PO). This at times results in receiving an order that was initiated 10 days ago, leaving us with little time to deliver medicines on time,” said Abhay Pandey, president of All India Food and Drug License Holder Association. The lobby also claimed storekeepers at civic hospitals were colluding with local pharmacies for making easy money.
Distributors alleged storekeepers deliberately placed the orders late to create a shortage of medicines at the hospital so that drugs could be purchased from local vendors.
Amey Ghole, health committee chairperson, BMC, said they will meet officials from the central purchasing department next week to understand the flaws in the existing system. “We’ve been told the delay in clearing payments, lengthy paperwork and absence of a streamlined system is equally responsible for the shortage of medicines at hospitals. We will hear both sides before initiating action,” said Ghole.