To curb resale: MCGM logo, barcodes on drugs at civic hospitals soon?
Medicines supplied to civic hospitals may soon bear a logo of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) along with a special barcode. Reason: To stop the possible resale of the drugs and their subsequent shortage at public hospitals.
The health committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently appealed to the civic chief to stop the procurement process of medicines for 2019 and re-issue the tenders with these additional requirements. However, civic officials said it was impossible to make the changes at the last minute and medicine strips ordered for 2019 will only bear barcodes.
In a meeting with the central purchasing department (CPD) earlier this year, health committee members and senior officials had suggested the letters MCGM be printed or embossed on capsules and tablets. They had suggested that special barcodes be placed on medicine strips to curb black-marketing and track delivery of the stock from suppliers to hospitals. However, tenders for medicine supply, worth Rs 480 crore, have already been floated for 2019. The tenders only pertain to the barcode criteria. “The suggestions were made citing complaints of shortage of medicines and black-marketing.We’ve written to the commissioner to cancel the tender and re-issue a fresh quotation, with these specifications,” said Ameya Ghole, chairman, health committee, BMC.
However, Rambhau Dhas, head of CPD, said, “The manufacturers found it impossible to change the entire process to accommodate the embossment or printing of logos on medicines. But, the medicine strips will have barcodes.” Similar norms are followed in procurement of medicines for Central and defence hospitals. In January 2019, the FDA, Maharashtra had seized medicines worth Rs 30 lakh from retail shops and e-retailers with tags “for defence use only”.
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