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Poor patients suffer as J&KMC fails to supply drugs to rural hospitals on time
SRINAGAR, Sep 8: Even as the government is making claims about the setting up of Jammu and Kashmir Medical Corporation (JKMSC) ensuring transparency, quality and time bound supply of drugs to the hospitals, the major rural hospitals of the valley continue to suffer shortage of important drugs thus adding to the agonies of gullible patients.

Officials working in different rural hospitals reveal that the supply of drugs to the hospitals through the corporation has failed to bring any relief to the patients. "Most of the hospitals in rural areas are suffering shortage of vital drugs ever since the corporation came into being. Even some important intra-venous fluids are not available in the hospitals. The shortage of drugs continues to force the patients to buy medicines from the market," said an official working in a hospital in Anantnag. Even the laboratory reagents and some surgical items, officials say, are running short.

Pharmacy store keeper at one of the south Kashmir hospitals said that they are yet to receive supplies against the requisition sent more than three months back to the corporation. "We have sent the requisition of the required drugs in May but irony is that the corporation is yet to supply drugs against the same. We have been purchasing almost all the vital drugs from private dealers risking our job as there are strict directions from the government not to make any purchases from the market," the official said.

At some hospitals, where the heads don't want to take any risks by purchasing drugs on their own, patients are suffering badly. "In district hospitals most of the anti-biotics are running short. We simply ask the IPD patients to purchase drugs from the market. If doctor prescribes five drugs to the patient he has to get at least four drugs from the market. Yes some IV fluids, drip set and syringes are what the patients get from hospital drug counters," said a doctor who is heading a rural hospital. The corporation has four major drug stores in the valley catering to the hospitals of different districts.

Though there is a circular that hospital heads can keep 25 percent discretionary funds with themselves for the purchase of drugs they require badly but the health officials say the amount is not enough to make purchases. "The amount will suffice only if the corporation ensures the time bound supplies of rest of the drugs but when you have to wait for three months for the supply of drugs against your requisition how this amount is going to suffice your requirement," an official told Kashmir Times.

Another problem that he see worsened the situation, the official said, is that the corporation refuses to issue non-availability certificates on the basis of which hospital heads can purchase drugs fearlessly.

General Manager, Jammu Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation (JKMSC), Sofi Mohammad Iqbal said that there is actually the shortage of funds in the health department. "To implement the free drug policy in totality in the hospitals falling under directorate health services a budget of Rs 200 crore rupees is required. But they have only Rs 18 crore to purchase the drugs. So how can you expect the availability of all the drugs listed for free distribution in the hospitals," GM told Kashmir Times.

He denied any fault on part of corporation as far as the shortage of drugs in the hospitals is concerned.

News Updated at : Saturday, September 9, 2017
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