M A I N   N E W S

Haryana Drug Policy
Draw of lots to allot chemist shops, canteens in health centres
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Allotment of chemist shops, canteens, STD booths and tea/ juice kiosks in various district hospitals and Community Health Centres across the state, including PGIMS, Rohtak, will now be done through draw of lots.

The New Drug policy, which is in final stages of implementation, will bring in transparency in the allotment of these shops. Once the contract of allottees of these shops and kiosks end in January, the new policy will be implemented for all future allotments.

Though the new drug policy was formulated in September last it could not be implemented after it was challenged in a court. But the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently disposed of three Civil Petitions, challenging the new drug policy framed by the Health Department, Haryana, especially with regards to the allotment policy favouring pharmacists with minimum five years of experience. The court had asked the state government not to make it mandatory for the allottees to be qualified pharmacists, rather proceed according to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

The state government has thus decided that the allotments of chemist shops in state-run health institutions can be made to any NGO, District Red Cross Society, or an individual, provided they have during a pharmacist present at the shop during working hours. Each District Health and Family Welfare Society, headed by the Deputy Commissioner concerned will not just earmark the sites for these chemist shops, but also decide on the rent to be charged from these allottees. In case of the chemist shop opting to operate 24x7, the allottee will have to employ a minimum of three pharmacists on regular basis, so that they are present at the shop in different shifts.

It has been decided that the canteens, tea / juice stalls and STD booths in all hospitals of Haryana will be allotted to disabled , war widows , senior citizens, freedom fighters and ex servicemen. The allottee will be allowed to keep a maximum 15 per cent margin.

The revised policy comes as a welcome change from the policy formulated by the previous Chautala government. The previous government had formulated a policy for allotting chemist shops to Non Government Organisations (NGOs), so that they sold medicines at very low margins (between 10 - 15 per cent), as against 100 per cent to 300 per cent margin in the sale of medicines by chemist shops outside hospitals. This policy was formulated after the scheme of government doctors prescribing only generic medicines was introduced.

However, the scheme went haywire as certain favourites of top politicians in the then ruling, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), were allotted these chemist shops. The lessees with more political clout were given sites right at the entrance of the hospital emergency (as in case of General Hospital, Panchkula), the other allottees were given sites at considerable distance.

The revised policy lays down that the allottees will be allowed to construct only temporary structures; will have to stock high quality, reliable and cheap medicines. The price and quality of products will be regulated and as per the direction of civil surgeons, and Director PGIMS at Rohtak. The allottee will have to have his own Sales Tax number, so that the cost at which he buys and sells medicines can be monitored.



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