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NBMCH to sell pacemaker

Siliguri, Jan. 20: The North Bengal Medical College and Hospital has asked the private company which runs the fair price shop at the hospital here to sell orthopaedic implants and pace-makers at a subsidised rate to patients.

According to a hospital source, the decision was taken as most state government-run hospitals in Calcutta have been offering implants and pacemakers at discounted rates to the patients.

“Most of the hospitals in Calcutta like SSKM, RG Kar and NRS Medical College and Hospital have been selling medical implants and pacemakers to patients. These are important medical items, which if made available at the fair price shops at NBMCH, will be useful to patients. So we have taken a decision to give out such items from the shop,” said Sandeep Sengupta, a member of the fair price shop monitoring committee in NBMCH.

“The private drug company that runs the shop at NBMCH has been asked to make such items available at the fair price shop,” he added.

The government has set up fair price medicine shops at hospitals across the state so that low-priced generic medicines are available to all patients.

In Siliguri, such shops were set up at NBMCH and the Siliguri district hospital in 2012.

At NBMCH, the generic medicines cost 51 per cent less than what they cost in the market.

According to Sengupta, who is also the secretary of the NBMCH chapter of Indian Medical Association, single-chambered and double-chambered pacemakers normally cost around Rs 80,000 and Rs 1.50 lakh.

“If these pacemakers are made available at the fair price shop at NBMCH their cost would be subsidised. The cost of implants varies from a few thousand to more than Rs 1 lakh. These too shall be available at discounted rates,” he said.

“Most of the patients who visit NBMCH belong to the BPL category and cannot afford expensive medical items. They will benefit if these items are available at the fair price shop at discounted rates,” Sengupta added.

Representatives of Apollo Pharmacy, the company that runs the fair price shop at NBMCH, said they will try and make orthopaedic implants and pacemakers available as and when they receive order from patients.

“We will make such items available to patients as and when there is a requirement and an order is placed by the patients’ relatives,” said Baidyanath Prasad, the supervisor of the fair price medicine stores at NBMCH.