DRUG MAFIA ‘MANAGES’ CLOSURE OF FAIR PRICE SHOPS IN JK

Jan Aushadhi Stores Become Casualty Of Doctor-Pharma Companies Nexus

MANZOOR-UL-HASSAN

Srinagar, Dec 18: Hundreds of poor patients coming to different government hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir don’t have access to life-saving drugs on affordable prices as the state’s Health Department has put the lid down on fair price medicine shops project.
The project was grounded due to “expanding drug mafia” inside the health institutions and pending court cases for more than 10 years. “Every day the arrival of patients has been increasing but they don’t get affordable medicines despite establishment of fair price shops inside every district and sub-district hospital. The attendants have to bear huge financial burden as the shops are either unauthorized or violate the guidelines of State Cooperative Act by selling medicines on the market rate or even higher in some cases,” a senior health official told Greater Kashmir.
He said the prestigious project turned out to be a “flop show” as there are various court cases pending in district and state courts for settling the bid amount and allotment  period. The official documents reveal that around 22 court cases are pending in Kashmir division following the writ petitions filed by the proprietors in different courts staying fresh allotment.
According to sources, some cases are pending disposal for around 10 years as the concerned health officials in the respective hospitals failed to pursue the cases.
As per the documents, in case of two shops setup at District Hospital Anantnag (Islamabad) the case is pending disposal since August 2003. The tendering process has also been stopped by the court after the proprietor filed the writ petition.
Similarly, the court cases are pending for other fair price shops setup in various District Hospitals (DH), Sub-district Hospitals (SDH) and Community Health Centres (CHC) including DH Mattan (time not known); DH Sallar since June 2003; SDH Dooru (February 2004); DH Pulwama (May 2003); CHC Keller (time not known); DH Shopian (September 2007); SDH Qazigund (unknown); DH Budgam (April 2009); SDH Magam (May 2007); SDH Chadoora (June 2003); JLNM Hospital (July 2003); SDH Kreeri (unknown); SDH Sopore (unknown); SDH Tangmarg (unknown); DH Baramulla (unknown); SDH Bandipora (unknown); SDH Sogam (unknown); SDH Tanghdar (unknown); SDH Kupwara (unknown) and DH Handwara (unknown).
“There has been hardly any follow up by the health department to get the stay vacated,” sources said.
Officials at various hospitals reveal that some doctors and even paramedical staff have a nexus with touts and drug mafia running their outlets outside the hospitals.
Sources said that much-hyped government proposal to open fair price shops, called Jan Aushadhi Drug Stores (JADS), under a centrally-sponsored scheme have also become casualty of doctor-pharma companies nexus.
“The proposed fair price shops under JADS scheme were to be opened across the State to make quality drugs available for the common man at genuine rates. But the project has failed to take off due to pressure from powerful drug manufactures and distributors,” they said.
Pertinently, J&K Red Cross Society was asked to open fair price shops at six places including two in Kashmir division, two in Jammu, one each in Leh  and   Kargil but so far only two shops have been opened by Red Cross Society.
He said the Red Cross Society would open shops at every Tehsil headquarters if authorities provide the required space.
When contacted, the Minister for Health Sham Lal Sharma said the matter had already been discussed in the Standing Committee meeting. “There are many cases pending in different courts and it is very difficult for the government to contest these individually. We will identify all the cases and club them so that it would be easier for the government to contest and vacate them as soon as possible,” he said.
The Minister admitted the hand of drug mafia in making the case weaker for the government. “We are going to constitute Drug Corporation in the state. It will definitely top such practices in the future,” Sham said.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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