More cases of supplying substandard drugs to CGHS come out

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Despite denials by the Government and stern measures including the introduction of special barcode, the supply of sub-standard drugs for the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) and pilferage of drugs continue in many places, it is learnt.

Authorities have come across some cases of supply of substandard drugs in the recent past, while the public interest organisations claim that several more cases go unnoticed. One medicine, supplied to the CGHS was found to be “not of standard quality” in Kolkata some time back. The stock of the medicine was returned to General Medical Stores Depot.

Likewise, one cases of pilferage was reported from CGHS Wellness Centre, Vivek Vihar, Delhi last year. SIT Crime Branch, Delhi arrested Revti Prasad Sharma, store keeper, Vivak Vihar and Mithun Tyagi, computer operator at CGHS Wellness Centre Yamuna Vihar. The store keeper had been suspended while the other one had been terminated, sources said

However, if the health activists are to be believed, there are plenty of such cases of substandard drugs and more specially pilferage of drugs from the government stores going on unabated across the country. But only a very few get exposed, they claim.

According to the official sources, the Medical Stores Depot (MSD) and Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation Ltd. (HSCC) under the health ministry procure in bulk, from manufacturers/authorized distributors, for supply to CGHS. The drugs are subjected to physical inspection, drawing of samples from each batch and coding by joint inspection team consisting of three members from CGHS and MSD. A sample each is sent immediately to two Central Government approved laboratories for analytical testing. Only after receipt of satisfactory analytical quality report, the medicines are being supplied to the CGHS.

The quality checking process usually takes a minimum of 30 days time. As part of the ensuring quality, the manufacturers are now asked to stamp `CGHS supply not for sale’ with indelible ink and place special barcode on the drugs and medical devices supplied to the schemes and dispensaries. The government has also set up a task force to check further pilferage of medicines and equipment. Senior officials have been instructed to hold regular inspection of dispensaries to monitor procurement, distribution and storage of drugs, sources said.

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