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Officer Who Facilitates Purchase Of Spurious Drugs To Probe The Scam

ZAHID MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Apr 10: In a bizarre and precipitous move, the state government has appointed an officer, who allegedly facilitated the purchase of spurious drugs for Valley hospitals, as a member of the probe-panel to enquire into the noxious scam.
The government has nominated Controller, Drug and Food Organization J&K, as a member of the enquiry committee probing the spurious drug scam that surfaced in the Valley recently. The officer is a member of the Jammu-based Purchase Committee that earlier approved the purchase of a bulk quantity of antibiotics which later turned out to be spurious.
On the other hand the government has placed Controller Stores Kashmir under suspension, who, seemingly has no role in the purchase of drugs, leaving the members of the Kashmir-based Drug Approval Board untouched. The job of the Board, stationed in the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, is mandated to check and certify that the drugs purchased by the government are as per the specifications laid down in the supply order. Raising eyebrows over the enquiry ordered by the Minister of State for Health, Shabir Ahmed Khan into spurious drug scam, medicos here have termed the constitution of the probe-panel a mere eye wash. “How can be Controller Drug and Food Organization a member of the probe-panel when he is himself responsible for the purchase of the spurious drugs in the capacity of the member of the Purchasing Committee,” said a valley-based medico. The medico said it is the responsibility of Drug and Food Organization to check the quality of medicines supplied to hospitals.
According to sources in Drug and Food Organization, the Controller instead of helping bring the culprits to book, is just repeatedly asking his subordinates not to talk to media on the issue.
Not only the Drug Controller, the government has even spared the all powerful Jammu-based Purchasing Committee that comprises Director Health Services Jammu, Principal Government Dental College Jammu, Director Indian System of Medicine, J&K, Medical Superintendent SMGS Hospital Jammu and Accounts Officer Government Medical College Jammu besides two experts. The same Purchasing Committee approved the supply of Tab Amoxicillin+Clavulinic Acid-625 mg purportedly manufactured by the M/S Medley Pharmaceutical Ltd for supply to the Valley hospitals through a Jammu-based distributor M/S Lifeline Pharmaco Surgical. The drug later proved to be spurious.
Official sources said that to facilitate the supply of spurious drugs to the Valley hospitals, there seems to be well-knit connivance of Jammu-based Purchase Committee and the Srinagar-based Drug Approval Board and the nexus is being patronized at the highest levels in the government. It is the Drug Approval Board here that accepted the supply of spurious antibiotics from Himachal-based Affy Parenterals instead of M/s Medley Pharmaceuticals as mentioned in the supply order.
The Srinagar-based Approval Board comprises, Deputy Director Dentistry, one surgeon specialist, one ophthalmologist, one medical officer and one district health officer. They check drugs to verify whether it is as per the specifications of the supply order. After check-up every member signs the approval order and is left at the disposal of controller drug stores to issue it to hospitals as per the requisition.
Here again the ‘murky’ role of Drug Controller comes to fore as they inordinately delay the check-up of testing of samples to facilitate supply of spurious drugs.

GOVT TO ROPE IN PRIVATE LABS FOR TESTING
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Health, Shabir Ahmed Khan Wednesday asked the Drug and Food Control Organization (D&FCO) to explore the possibility of roping in registered private labs for testing the government hospital supply medicines, including injections.
According to an official handout, the Minister issued the directions while chairing a meeting convened to review the functioning of health institutions and implementation of the health schemes, including flagship National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in Jammu region, here today.
He directed Drug and Food Organization for exploring the possibility of getting the drugs/injections tested before these are supplied to the hospitals for the patients adding that possibility of getting drugs tested from the registered private labs should also be explored.
Stressing the need to bring more improvement in the working of health institutions, the Minister instructed timely procurement of quality essential drugs as per drug policy with a preference for generic drugs and added the distribution of drugs and supplies to health institutions should be made on the basis of case load in each health institutions. He said vital items like dressing, gauze, bandage, syringes, IV fluids, IV sets, Lab items, X-ray films to be given priority while making purchases. He instructed that under JSSK only those drugs should be procured which are not available in the hospitals.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Apr 2013 00:00:00 IST




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