The Bold Voice of J&K

Doctors disregard Govt approved drugs, prefer private chemists: Is there a nexus?


Muhammad Mukaram

SRINAGAR: A major scam has come to the fore in Srinagar’s Super Specialty Hospital, affiliated with Government Medical College (GMC), as doctors at the hospital allegedly coerce patients to buy medicines from the local chemists instead of the government approved Bharatiya Jan Aushadi Kendra (BJAK) store available there.
Manzoor Ahmad Mir, a patient hailing from Pampore town in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, was admitted for open partial Nephrectomy surgery in Urology Department at Super Specialty Hospital, Shireen Bagh, on June 8.

Patients forced to get medicines from market at Srinagar’s Shireen Bagh Hospital

According to the attendants, the doctors on duty told them to get some medicines, including antibiotic Injection Tazoter 4.5 mg, for the patient’s treatment. “Once I got the medicine from Bharatiya Jan Aushadi Kendra store available in the hospital premises, as mentioned in the prescription, the doctors and nurses on duty refused to administer the same,” Haroon Ahmad, an attendant told STATE TIMES.
Shockingly, according to Ahmad, the doctors advised the attendant to get Tazoter injection from private drug stores instead. The salt (Piperacillin and Tazobactam) in both medicines is same.
One Tazoter injection, as per the printed maximum retail price, is sold at Rs 230 while the drug purchased from BJAK is provided free of cost to those with Golden Health Card. The patient had to be injected thrice a day which would have brought no financial burden had the doctors accepted the J&K Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL), but about Rs 750 a day if purchased from the outside market.
“I have one simple question: Do the doctors and paramedical staff at Shireen Bagh’s Super Speciality Hospital lack faith in the efficacy of JKMSCL drugs or do they get their commission with the local chemists?” asked the dismayed attendants, adding, why would the medical staff show disregard to the drugs purchased from the BJAK stores.
The patient was admitted in Ward-2A, Urology Department, at Bed 14. He was discharged from the hospital on June 14.
Several other attendants of other patients in the Urology Department told similar tales to STATES TIMES. One of them even had a verbal brawl with department head. “When confronted why the doctors refuse administering drugs purchased from the BJAK stores, the Head of the Department threatened us with police action and called us names,” said another attendant on the condition of anonymity.
Details available with STATE TIMES reveal that most of the drugs are unavailable at the central pharmacy, Super Speciality Hospital, Shireen Bagh. Of eight important antibiotic medicines only one is available, as per status of drugs at the hospital store. Even most common drugs remain unavailable.
When contacted by STATE TIMES, the JKMSCL Managing Director Yashpal Sharma swore by the efficacy and standard of the drugs supplied by them to all the government medical stores. “Our medicines are of high quality and get tested more than once from top laboratories and only then receive approval to reach government hospitals. It is unfortunate if any doctor has rejected the medicine from our stores,” Sharma said.
GMC’s Principal Dr. Saima Rashid did not respond to queries put forth by STATE TIMES.
Meanwhile, Government of India launched the Ayushman Bharat Yojana Golden Card scheme with the aim to cover medical expenses up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization of patients. The National Health Protection Scheme has been implemented in all the states and UT’s.

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