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Govt’s free-drug promise hollow

LUDHIANA: To utter dismay of patients visiting the local Civil Hospital, many medicines prescribed by doctors are not available with the drug store.

Govt’s free-drug promise hollow

Patients line up at the drug store in Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma



Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12

To utter dismay of patients visiting the local Civil Hospital, many medicines prescribed by doctors are not available with the drug store. They are forced to shell out money for buying these medicines from private chemists.

The shortage of medicines at the drug store has exposed the truth behind government’s promise to provide medicines to patients visiting civil hospitals free of cost.

What to talk about painkillers and antibiotics, the hospital has not received the necessary stock of articles, such as hand sanitisers, gloves and phenyl for a long time. Though the drug store regularly sends demand notes to the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, only a few medicines are approved by the officials concerned. The drug store at present has only 30 per cent stock of medicines.

A list of 18 medicines was sent to the Drug Warehouse at Kharar on March 8, of which only three medicines were available there.

In the reply to a demand note for items, such as hand sanitiser, phyenyl, plastic apron, bathing soap, HIV protection kit, OT sleeper, lignocain gel, examination gloves, shoe cover, X-ray films, cotton roll, syringes, cotton sponge, etc, the warehouse authorities stated that none of the items is available with them. The list contained 39 articles.

According to sources, the articles, such as phenyl, hand sanitisers and bathing soaps, are purchase by the sanitation contractor.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr HS Ghai, said there was a shortage of medicines in the state. The necessary medicines were purchased by the Senior Medical Officer and the bills are reimbursed later on.

Shanto Bano, an attendant, said the doctor prescribed some injections and medicines for her daughter-in-law after her delivery but none was available at the drug store. She had to buy those from a private chemist. The drug store did not have even syringes and everything required by the doctor was bought by her from private stores.

Another patient said his father had regular abdominal problems and every time he visited the drug store to collect medicines prescribed by doctors, he returned empty-handed. “What is the use of opening the drug store when most medicines are not available here,” he said.

Ministerspeak

Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, when asked about unavailability of antibiotics, painkillers, X-ray films, syringes, etc, at the local Civil Hospital, said he was not aware of the shortage of medicines. He said he would look into the matter.

List of medicines not supplied by Drug Warehouse, Kharar

  • Injection aminophylline (used to treat and prevent wheezing and trouble in breathing caused by lung disease)
  • Amoxycilline 250 mg (used to treat wide variety of bacterial infections)
  • Tablet cetrizine (used to relieve allergy)
  • Injection cefa+salbactum (used for abdominal infection)
  • Injection cefotaxime (used to prevent infection after certain surgeries),
  • Syrup cefixime (antibiotic)
  • Tablet frusimide (prevents body from absorbing too much salt)
  • Tab cefuroxime (used for viral infections)
  • Tablet fluconazole (treats vaginal yeast infection)
  • Injection lignocain (used for local and regional anaesthesia)
  • Capsule domperidone+raberazole (used to treat stomach and esophagus problems)
  • Tablet raberazole (used to reduce stomach acid)
  • Syrup zinc sulphate (used to prevent zinc deficiency)
  • Tab pentaprazole (used to prevent heartburn)

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