The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mishra drugs whip on hospitals

Calcutta, March 26: Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra today made it clear that government hospitals are bound to provide medicines to patients and, in no case, can ask them to buy drugs from outside. Mishra had to face stormy scenes in the Assembly, where Opposition legislators raised their voice over non-availability of medicines in government hospitals.

“We supply sufficient medicine to hospitals, starting from the medical colleges to primary health centres, and there should not be any shortage, including life saving drugs and equipment, except for some rare medicines. So, there is no question of refusing medicine to a single patient and asking them to buy it from outside. As many as 286 kinds of medicines are supposed to be stocked in the big hospitals and additional 127 kinds of medicines must be available in the rural hospitals,’’ Mishra told the Assembly.

Mishra said he had directed state-run hospitals to display the list of medicines available in the hospital for the patients’ information.

Besides, he said, the hospital authorities have also been asked to arrange for medicines that are listed but not available in the stores.

Dissatisfied with the reply, Opposition MLAs, including Saugata Roy of the Trinamul Congress, Debaprasad Sarkar of the SUCI and Abdul Mannan of the Congress, alleged that many doctors in government hospitals forced patients to buy medicines from outside, saying there is no stock in the hospital dispensary.

“There are some doctors in government hospitals who force relatives of patients to buy medicine of a particular brand despite the fact that it is present in the hospital store. They try to convince them that the hospital medicine is not up to the mark and there is no guarantee of its effectiveness. The health department, knowing everything, is silent,” alleged Congress legislator Kamal Mukherjee, who was supported by other Opposition legislators.

“It has also come to my notice that some doctors insist that medicines are bought from shops despite having them in hospital stores. We will not tolerate it. Our policy is very clear — all the patients must have medicine as per requirement in the hospital,” the health minister said.

We request you to help the government to identify the doctors who deny medicine. We shall not spare the doctor whoever they may be,’’ the health minister said.

told to the opposition legislators.

He said the government provides funds to the tune of Rs 115 crore annually for purchasing medicine. So, there should not be any dearth of medicines. “We have already given power to the hospital authorities to purchase medicine locally in case of any emergency or delay in supplying from central medical stores. So, there is no question of denying medicine to any patient,’’ Mishra said.

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