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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Supply of 'fake' drugs in Delhi govt hospitals: Saurabh Bharadwaj demands action against health secretary

Even consumables such as bandages were found not to be meeting quality standards, the health minister said

PTI New Delhi Published 23.12.23, 06:23 PM
Saurabh Bharadwaj

Saurabh Bharadwaj File

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Saturday demanded action against the health secretary over the alleged supply of sub-standard quality drugs to city government-run hospitals, an issue into which the Lt Governor has recommended a CBI inquiry. Demanding that Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena take action against the secretary as well as a former director of the Directorate of Health Services-Delhi (DHS), he told a press conference that in "July-August some medicines' samples were sent for testing, and out of 43 samples, five were found not to be meeting standards".

"I learnt about it after one and a half months during discussions about the matter," said Bharadwaj, who was allotted the health portfolio in March.

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was made the health minister after Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain resigned from the Cabinet and their portfolios were redistributed. "Even consumables such as bandages were found not to be meeting quality standards," Bharadwaj said.

The press conference was called by the minister after Raj Niwas officials on Saturday said that Saxena has recommended a CBI inquiry into the alleged supply of drugs that "failed quality standard tests" and have the "potential of endangering lives" in Delhi government hospitals.

Recommending the inquiry, the Lt Governor sent a note to Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar mentioning that it is concerning that these medicines are being given to lakhs of patients.

The Lt Governor also said that these drugs, procured by the Central Procurement Agency (CPA) under the Delhi Health Services, were supplied to Delhi government hospitals and may also have been supplied to the 'Mohalla Clinics'.

"When this note (of the Lt Governor) came, I thought that the CBI inquiry has been ordered in both the matters (regarding consumables and medicines) but the inquiry has only been ordered in connection with the medicines," Bharadwaj said.

The consumables were brought from the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal of the Centre, the minister said. Bharadwaj said when he assumed office in March, he directed that the audit of all purchases of medicines and consumables be expedited. "The procurement of medicines is done through the CPA. The DHS-Delhi heads it and the health secretary is the overall in-charge of the department. If something has happened, the Centre that has the power to take action against these officers (health secretary and the former director of the DHS). Why are they not acting on it?" the minister said.

Bharadwaj said he had also recommended action against the health secretary and the former DHS-Delhi director over stopping of the 'Dilli Ke Farishte' scheme -- an initiative of the AAP government to provide free treatment to road accident victims.

"On October 23, we had written to the Delhi LG through Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to suspend the two officers (health secretary and the former DHS official) and initiate departmental inquiry against them. Why is the Centre sitting on it?" he asked. The minister alleged that despite written and oral directions to them, they have not responded in the several matters. "The Centre has ended accountability of officials to the elected government. Why are you asking us? If there has been corruption, action should be taken against these officials. They are not accountable to the minister concerned," he added. Bharadwaj said since the time he became health minister, several meetings were held with the health secretary and the DHS, and many directions were issued. "The health secretary was sent multiple notes but no action was taken on the directions. Letters were also sent seeking action taken report on the directions but no reply was given," Bharadwaj said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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