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Drug ban threat to rein in OPD sales

Siliguri, Jan. 18: The Assembly standing committee on health has threatened that it will ask the government not to procure drugs manufactured by companies whose medical representatives visit the out-patients’ department flouting norms.

The Assembly team said it would ask the government to enforce strictly the rule on the entry of medical representatives to hospitals, after one of them was spotted at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital’s outpatients’ department.

A government rule prohibits the entry of medical representatives in government hospitals from 10am to 2pm, when the OPDs are open. The committee members stumbled upon the medical representative in the surgical OPD, where Dr Sudhangshu Shekhar Ghosh was examining patients.

“What are you doing here during OPD hours? Don’t you know medical representatives are not allowed in the OPD when patients are visiting?” Sunil Kumar Mondal, a Trinamul MLA from Burdwan and a committee member, asked him.

The medical representative mumbled a vague reply and hurriedly departed. Mondal asked Dr Ghosh why he had allowed the representative to enter the OPD. “He was standing in a corner. I was not aware of his presence while attending to my patients,” Ghosh said.

Mondal said the team would suggest a strict enforcement of the existing law. “If any of them are found violating the order, strict action — which may even amount to a ban on products of the company concerned in government medical institutions — would be taken.”

Committee chairman Siliguri MLA Rudranath Bhattacharya later told journalists that a host of health projects was in the pipeline for the NBMCH.

“The anti-retroviral treatment unit will be expanded. The state has also sanctioned funds for an SNCU. The trauma centre will be completed soon and Rs 44 lakh has been sanctioned for Institutional Reference Lab (IRL) to conduct tests for multi-drug resistant cases. Now, samples of sputum are sent to the IRL at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Calcutta for tests,” said Bhattacharya.