Cancer care falls victim to GST confusion at Faridkot govt hospital
While GST came into effect from July 1, sources at the hospital said the problem started mid-September when new stock of drugs came with GST-charged bills from the suppliers.punjab Updated: Oct 17, 2017 21:09 IST
Subsidised supply of chemotherapy medicines for cancer patients at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in Faridkot has been halted since last month now, because authorities at this prime government facility need clarity on rates to be paid to suppliers after implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) since July 1, it is learnt.
The rates agreed upon by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PSHC) with pharmaceutical suppliers had 5% value-added tax (VAT), which has now been replaced by GST at 12%. The halt of disbursement — with the hospital awaiting guidelines from the PHSC — is forcing patients to buy medicines from the open market, where rates are several times higher, ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2 lakh as against the government’s rate of Rs 100 to Rs 40,000.
Under the Chief Minister’s Cancer Relief Fund, patients registered with hospitals are eligible for free cancer treatment up to Rs 1.5 lakh from the state government. At this hospital alone, 40 patients undergo chemotherapy daily and 117 drugs for it are under the rate contract of the PHSC. While GST came into effect from July 1, sources at the hospital said the problem started mid-September when new stock came with GST-charged bills from the suppliers.
Despite several attempts, PHSC’s managing director Varun Roojam remained incommunicado, but some of its officials said a meeting has been called with the suppliers after Diwali to resolve the tax issue. Dr Rajiv Joshi, medical superintendent at the hospital, too refused to talk.
Meanwhile, a 60-year-old patient of breast cancer from Faridkot — she did not want to be identified — was among patients seeking the medicine from the hospital window on Tuesday. But she and her 30-year-old son left the window depressed after being denied the medicine.