Spurious drugs supplied to hospitals in J&K, the government fails to act
This has put a question mark on the functioning of JKMSCL which had ironically been formed in 2012 to ensure that the tested quality medicines were supplied to state hospitals after the old method of procurement of medicines was found mired in corruption.
In an expose which has once again blown the cover from a thriving drug mafia in J&K, spurious drugs have been supplied to the Valley’s government hospitals. J&K Drug and Food Control Organization (DFCO) has recalled two “sub-standard” drugs worth Rs 33 lakh supplied to hospitals by JK Medical Supplies Corporation Limited.
The medicines were tested as fake by the DFCO which soon issued the ‘Stop-Use notice’ for them. One of these medicines is Aceclofenac Tablets.
A total of 24 samples from the JKMSCL supply had been sent for the testing by DFCO recently. While the report of 14 samples has been received, 10 are still awaited.
Significantly, from April 2016 to December 2016, 46 samples of supplies and drugs lifted by DFCO from state hospitals and markets have been found to be “sub-standard”.
Among these samples, 22 were declared as “misbranded while 24 fell in other parameters of sub-standard quality. A total of 2339 drug samples had been lifted for purpose of testing and analysis by the Empowered Inspectorate staff," a DFCO official said.
This has put a question mark on the functioning of JKMSCL which had ironically been formed in 2012 to ensure that the tested quality medicines were supplied to state hospitals after the old method of procurement of medicines was found mired in corruption. What is more, since April last year, the DFCO has found 46 drugs of “sub-standard quality” including four drugs during past one week.
But despite these revelations, Government has initiated no action against the JKMSCL. In November, however, the state government moved promptly to attach the Director General ISM Dr Abdul Kabir when two samples lifted from a far-flung dispensary in Jammu were allegedly tested fake by a laboratory. But even before waiting for its own committee to submit its report within the allotted time of one week, the government removed Dr Kabir and ordered the principal secretary health Bhandari to take over the department.
The double standards in the government response to the two revelations of the alleged spurious medicines exemplify the dismal state of affairs prevailing in the state. While a misdemeanour was promptly punished, a disproportionately larger negligence and corruption have been overlooked.
Earlier in 2012, another drug scandal had come to light when DFCO found that the antibiotic Maximizin-625 supplied to Valley hospitals by a Jammu-based distributor Life Line Pharmaco was fake. The drug tested negative in the analysis as it contained zero milligrammes of Amoxicillin instead of 500 milligrammes claimed by the company.
But even then, the state government had let off the health officials primarily responsible for okaying the purchases while swiftly arresting the suppliers of the spurious medicines. This was despite the fact that a preliminary inquiry report then had indicted the officials of the Health and Government Medical College and its Associated Hospitals for receiving the supply of the drug without verifying credentials of the manufacturer.