August 26, 2008

Senior Officer Shifted on Health Issues

By Manveer Saini

CHANDIGARH: A day after the Times of India reported about tonnes of medicines being dumped in drains owing to their going past the expiry date when millions of Indians are deprived of healthcare, the Haryana government shifted director incharge of medicine supplies and disposal (MSD), an agency involved in procurement of medicines.

Besides transferring Dr Vijay Garg, the government also put transactions carried out during his tenure as MSD director incharge under the scanner. Director, health services, Dr Parveen Sethi has been given the charge of MSD which has reportedly started working under a new system now.

An unwarranted bulk procurement and dispensing of muscle relaxants and dietary supplements two months ahead of their expiry was said to have helped the health department in detecting the alleged scam.

While some medicines were reportedly ordered even after samples failed tests, others were demanded even as they were least required, leading to their being dumped at main stores in districts and various government-run health centres across the state.

"Our priority is to streamline the system with minimum shake-up. The message has been conveyed. A lot of things are planned to ensure that right medicines are procured, forwarded and dispensed at the right time by keeping in mind the demands placed by a particular health centre or hospital," said Anuradha Gupta, commissioner- secretary, health.

Enquiries revealed that besides revamping the system, the government also directed officials associated with distribution of medicines at the district level and below to have computerized inventories.

"An anganwadi centre's requirement will be different from that of a primary health centre or a community health centre. A committee will finalise what each needs and medicines will be procured likewise thrice a year," added Gupta.

(c) 2008 The Times of India. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.