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GMCH warns pharmacies against push sale

Jan. 17: The Gauhati Medical College and Hospital management today warned pharmacies on its premises not to lure patients into purchasing costly drugs.

The warning was issued today during a meeting of the hospital management and the pharmacy owners.

GMCH superintendent Ramen Talukdar told The Telegraph that there were allegations and reports that a few of the pharmacies had gone to the extent of using touts or agents to constantly pursue patients or their attendants and lure them into purchasing medicines from the former. He said such unfortunate things were happening despite the fact that adequate medicines were available free of cost at the hospital’s central pharmacy.

“A tout was caught red-handed last night when he was trying resort to the same practice with the relatives of a patient admitted at the ICU in the emergency wing. Though the culprit managed to escape somehow, the hospital lodged an FIR with Bhangagarh police station against the pharmacy for which the tout was working,” Talukdar said.

The superintendent convened a meeting of all pharmacy owners at his official chambers this afternoon and strictly warned them to stop the practice of using touts to lure customers. It was also made clear that if any pharmacy was found guilty in the future, the hospital would write to the health department to cancel its licence.

“The hospital is not against the pharmacies doing business. In fact, some good pharmacies are really serving patients by making medicines, which sometimes at in short supply at the GMCH central pharmacy, available to patients round the clock. The pharmacy owners told us that some hospital employees also forced patients to purchase drugs from the private retailers by stating that the hospital didn’t have the relevant medicines in stock. We will soon identify those guilty and take action,” he said, while warning employees to refrain from such practices.

Talukdar appealed to GMCH patients and their relatives not to fall in the touts’ traps and inform the hospital authorities if they did not find adequate drugs at the central pharmacy.

A pharmacy owner, however, said some doctors at the hospital prescribed medicines not available at the central pharmacy. Under such circumstances, people were forced to come to the private pharmacies. “A high percentage of medicines from the state list of essential medicines are frequently absent in the GMCH pharmacy,” he alleged.

Talukdar, however, denied the allegation.