HC: Deploy flying squads to monitor govt hospital drugs

It was further informed that there is a dedicated number 104 available to lodge complaints related to the drugs. The state also noted that the drugs are meant for use in 180 days.
Madras High Court
Madras High CourtDT file photo

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the State government to deploy flying squads to monitor and ensure that medicines from government hospital pharmacies do not make way to the market and that expired drugs are not administered/sold to the public.

Justice SM Subramaniam passed the direction on hearing a petition filed by S Muthumalai Rani, staff in a pharmacy store in Coimbatore GH, seeking a direction to the state health department to grant her pension and other pay benefits.

During arguments, the HC had made serious allegations against the government hospitals and private pharmacies saying expired medicines are administered in the GHs.

Following this, State deputy health secretary N Bhuvaneswari filed an affidavit to appraise the court about the mechanism to prevent the act of giving expired medicines to patients.

“At the procurement level, most of the drugs required by GHs are purchased through a centralised process by Tamil Nadu Medical Service Corporation (TNMSC) following foolproof codal procedure,” the deputy health secretary said in her affidavit.

As the court observed that the GH drugs were sold in the market by doctors and nurses, the State denied the same saying all the essential drugs supplied by the government are labelled with ‘Tamil Nadu Government Supply: Not for Sale’. “Hence doctors/nurses/staff can’t take the lifesaving medicine for their benefits, ” the state noted.

It was further informed that there is a dedicated number 104 available to lodge complaints related to the drugs. The state also noted that the drugs are meant for use in 180 days. “While placing a purchase order with the manufacturers, the government obtains an undertaking from the pharma companies for replacement of goods if supplied with shelf life expiry below 300 days,” the health department added.

Recording the submissions, the judge lauded the steps taken by the government and opined that bio-metric attendance systems shall be kept in place to restrain nurses and doctors from taking unwanted leave.

The matter was posted on November 11.

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