CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu health helpline 104 has been handling calls on the shortage of medicines from across the State and redirecting them to Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) for meeting the supply needs. Meanwhile, the 32 drug depots of TNMSC have been directed to keep 322 essential medicines in stock.
Health Minister Ma Subramanian had earlier said that there is no shortage of medicines and those who come across any shortage can report to the 104-helpline.
“We have been getting calls occasionally on the unavailability or shortage of a few drugs, mostly from districts other than Chennai. We are redirecting the calls immediately to TNMSC, and they are keeping a record of the calls and the drugs unavailable,” said an official from the 104 helpline.
TNMSC managing director Deepak Jacob said only one drug out of the 322 essential drugs was unavailable a month ago and there is no such shortage currently. He said the calls from 104 on the shortage of drugs are being responded to immediately.
“We have 32 warehouses and if one of the warehouses does not have the availability, we move the medicines from the nearest warehouse. To track if any specific drug is in increased demand and unavailable, we are holding a meeting with the deans of all the medical college hospitals for immediate procurement,” he said.
Meanwhile, druggists and chemists across the State say the private sector has not reported any shortage. “The concerns were raised at government hospitals reportedly. However, there is no specific drug in demand as during the pandemic. Multiple companies are manufacturing a single drug and the supply has not been affected,” said Srinivasan Ramachandran, secretary of the TN Chemists and Druggists Association.
Health Minister Ma Subramanian said around 600 essential drugs and speciality drugs are procured by TNMSC and sent to all hospitals. The medicines are being sent to the respective district hospitals, PHCs and regional hospitals from warehouses. Currently, three months’ stock is there in PHCs.
He said due to the delayed arrival of medicines in some PHCs, the respective District Medical Officers along with the respective District Joint Directors and Deputy Directors have been instructed to monitor the delivery. Works on setting up new drug warehouses are also in progress.