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Medicine scam in hospital

An inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of drugs during 2008-09 and 2009-10 at Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) has confirmed medicines worth Rs 1 crore were bought at exorbitant rates.

The team, constituted by the health department, submitted its report last week.

According to the report, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, drugs purchase committee members, including N.P. Yadav, who was NMCH superintendent then, along with other officials have been made accused in the case. Sweta Rani, a drug inspector who was one of the purchase committee members, and some other officials — drug store medical officer M.K. Sinha, blood bank in-charge C.K. Narayan, clinical pathology department’s retired assistant professor Vinay Karak — have also been made accused.

While Sweta has been transferred to Kishanganj around two-and-a-half years ago, Vinay took voluntary retirement in 2012. Sinha, also associated with the NMCH skin department, and Narayan are still working.

The investigating team members were health services deputy director Jagdish Prasad Singh, drug control administration, Patna (rural), licensing authority Ramesh Kumar, drug control administration (Siwan) licensing authority Rakesh Nandan Singh, Bhojpur (Ara) drug inspector Sachchidanand Prasad and Patna drug inspector Chunendra Mahto.

A member of the investigating team said on condition of anonymity: “People from other departments, including finance, industries and income tax, who were in the purchase committee have also been made accused.”

The official, also a part of the investigating team, added: “We found many anomalies. For example, intravenous (IV) set, used in administering fluids and nutritional support to the patient, were procured at exorbitant rates. While one company quoted the price of IV set as Rs 13 each, another came up with Rs 5.25 each but the purchase committee approved Rs 13 as the lowest price in bidding. The hospital administration purchased 50,000 IV sets from an agency at a cost of Rs 13 each. That means Rs 7.75 were given for each IV set.”

He said: “For catheter, one company quoted its price of Rs 3 each and another came up with Rs 11 per piece but the purchase committee approved Rs 11 as the lowest rate.”

One of the accused, Yadav, who retired as Patna Medical College principal four months ago, said: “No investigation was carried out when I was the NMCH superintendent.”

Sweta said: “I am quite shocked to know about this. I am not guilty. I was in the drug purchase committee and as my part of job, I only approved the rates on which drugs could be purchased. Finally, it was the hospital administration, which purchased the drugs.”


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