Authorities at Bone and Joint (B&J) hospital here have decided to close down the drug counter, a move that will deprive patients of affordable orthopedic implants, aids and medicines.
A senior doctor said the drug counter was being closed downat the end of this month. The doctor said the "anti-patient and anti-poor"decision has shocked the doctors and hospital staff.
Another doctor said the patients get orthopedic implantssuch as screws, rods, knee replacement system, hip replacement system, fixatorsand other items at less than half the market price at the hospital counter.Also, plasters, bandages, surgical consumables and some essential drugs werebeing sold at "very low profit".
"The hospital sells these items at 2 percent profit, afterprocuring directly from manufacturers," the doctor said.
The doctor said the counter was a boon for poor patientsconsidering high cost in treating orthopedic injuries and ailments. "For underprivileged, this counter was asavior of lives," he said.
Citing an example he said a knee replacement system of thesame manufacturer that costs Rs 1.20 lakh in market was available at Rs 60,000at the counter.
The newly appointed in-charge medical superintendent (MS)B&J Hospital, Dr Suhail Mian said that the drug counter was being closeddue to "technical reasons". "The license of the counter is expiring and we havewritten to GMC's rate contract committee (RCC) to float fresh tenders," the MSsaid.
He further said that an AMRIT counter to provide cheapimplants, drugs and disposable was being "planned" at the hospital to replacethe drug counter. He however said he was not sure how long the RCC or AMRITwould take to start the counter.
"If there is a shortfall or lacunae in the manner the drugcounter is being operated, the authorities should rectify it," the doctorsaid while arguing that closing down the facilities was tantamount to"punishing the poor".
According to the source, in the past too, efforts had beenmade to close down the drug counter, on the basis of "anonymous complaints".Such drug counters are running at SMHS Hospital, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute ofMedical Sciences Soura and many other hospitals and have proved boon for thepatients.