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Hospital drug supply flunks quality test

Patna, July 11: The state government has been defending its officials over allegations regarding purchase of sub-standard drug and their supply to the hospitals but the system of procurement has an in-built flaw.

Instead of checking the quality of medicines before supplying them to the hospitals, the Bihar Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation Limited (BMSICL) — agency that supplies medicines to the government hospitals after procurement — does not have the system of checking the quality before supplying.

Recently one patient died in Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Bhagalpur, after being administered “sub-standard drug”. Even PMCH witnessed some tense moments recently when children had reactions after they were administered a particular medicine.

A senior BMSICL official admitted that the drugs supplied by them to the government hospitals, are randomly checked only after they reach the government hospitals.

“Soon after purchasing the drug, we start checking them randomly but the entire process is time consuming. So, we send medicines to the hospitals where there is a requirement and the quality of drug is tested on a parallel basis. The drug-testing procedure takes around three months. We can’t wait for so long to send the drug to the hospitals,” he said.

Sources said BMSICL has collaborations with three central government-accredited laboratories, including Delhi-based Indian Analytical and Testing Laboratory, Delhi-based Standard Analytical Laboratory and Hyderabad-based PRK Pharmanalysts Pvt Ltd in which medicines are sent for testing. However, the final drug testing is done at BMSICL’s quality department and the procedure takes time.

“BMSICL should not despatch the drug lot without checking it because if sub-standard medicines reach the hospital, then it would be a blunder. Patients would end up consuming sub-standard drug and they are likely to fall ill. Who will take the responsibility? The company that supplied the drug might claim that the medicines were not stored properly because of which problems had developed,” said Manish Mandal, a gastrointestinal surgeon at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.

The drug controller’s office said things would soon change as far as testing is concerned. “State drug controller Hemant Kumar Sinha has sent a letter to Pravin Kishore (the managing director of BMSICL) yesterday asking him to ensure that drugs for government hospitals are tested before it is sent,” said a drug inspector.


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