The West Bengal government is yet to formulate any definite regulation for private hospitals which are prescribing chemotherapy drugs to patients who were admitted at their establishments under the state-run health insurance scheme -- Swasthya Sathi, an official said on Tuesday.
The state health department has set up an expert committee to frame a guideline that would restrict prescribing of certain high-value cancer drugs for Swasthya Sathi patients and push for cost-effective drugs.
"The guidelines are yet to be framed regarding the restriction of prescribing high-value cancer drugs. We may require more time to frame them as such a guideline cannot be framed quickly. At the moment all the stakeholders are being consulted. We are trying to frame it keeping in mind the cause of the common people. We will be pushing for," an official of the health department said.
According to some officials, though the health department has been advocating for cost-effective chemo drugs for treating cancer patients there are complaints that a few government hospitals have been running out of low-cost medicines.
When pointed out at such complaints, the health department official reasoned the lapse of the tender to approve vendors for the cost-effective medicines to treat cancer patients.
Such drugs are supplied by approved vendors through the central medical store. The shortage is confined to a countable number of drugs and specific to only a few hospitals. The supply will hopefully be streamlined in a fortnight, said a health official.
Incidentally, the department has asked all state-run hospitals to upload the invoice of chemo drug purchase to get approval.