Punjab health minister Mohindra orders probe into doctors-pvt chemists’ nexus
The health department has ordered a probe into the findings of a report prepared by the Punjab Police intelligence wing claiming that doctors posted in civil hospitals are prescribing medicines from private chemists to earn up to 40% commission on the maximum retail price (MRP).
Acting on the HT report published on April 2 “Punjab govt doctors get 40% cut to prescribe drugs from private chemists: Intel report”, health minister Brahm Mohindra has constituted a three-member panel of senior health department officials to look into the allegations.
“I have instructed the panel to conduct a speedy probe as it relates to ethics of doctors and welfare poor patients. The panel members will visit all hospitals and analyse each and every aspect of the intelligence report,” Mohindra told HT.
This probe committee comprising additional secretary health S Srinivasan, director family welfare Naresh Kumar and director, Punjab Heath Systems Corporation (PHSC), Meena Hardeep, has been asked to carry out a detailed probe into intelligence report and submit the report to the health minister’s office within a month.
In its report, the intelligence wing named some government doctors and the private chemists involved in this nexus. Initially, the health department tried to hush up the report which the intelligence wing shared with the health director in February. Mohindra too said officials have not shared any such report with him though the health director forwarded it to the civil surgeons concerned.
“Though the report nailed some doctors and medical officers, it was forwarded to civil surgeons only for reference. All doctors named in the probe were spared,” said a health department official privy to the development.
The report claimed that some doctors are prescribing costly medicines only available with private medical stores even as cheap medicines with same salt and combination are in stock at the medical stores run by civil hospitals.
“Since these medicines are costly as compare to government stocks, a doctor earns 30-40% commission from medical store owners and this big loot is going unabated from past many years,” stated the report submitted by AIG, intelligence-1, at Mohali headquarters after a three-month probe.
The report has named more than 10 doctors and six chemists in Ludhiana, Amritsar and Rupnagar districts with a special reference that the situation was worse in Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala and Fatehgarh Sahib, where 60% of the total medicines prescribed to patients in civil hospitals are being passed to private chemists.