Kerala hospitals face shortage of common drugs

The shortage is being attributed to inadequate supply from Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) and defects in the indent prepared by various hospitals

medicines-1Government hospitals in the state are facing shortage of medicines meant for non-communicable diseases (NCD) like blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and cardiac problems.

The shortage is being attributed to inadequate supply from Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) and defects in indent prepared by various hospitals. While preparing the indent, which is an assessment of approximate quantity of medicines required, the hospital purchase authority has to categorise requirement as huge, average, minimum and scarce.

Many hospitals do not give such specific details about their requirement and submit annual indent demanding supply of medicines in four parts. This often leads to shortage of drugs. There is also lack of monitoring of supplies, feedback from market and market watch. There is a need for fine-tuning drug procurement system in 1000-odd government hospitals. Sources said there is shortage of medicines meant for NCD, mainly lifestyle diseases like cardiac issues, blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes.

Even therapeutic drugs for neuro, gastro, cardio and nephro are not available in adequate quantity. The shortage has been mainly reported from district, general and taluka hospitals, causing inconvenience to the patients.

When contacted Director Health Services (DHS) Dr R Ramesh accepted that there is shortage, but also said fresh indents were being prepared and local purchases were being done in case of any urgent requirement.

“We inspected the situation. Till last week, most medicines on 500-odd Essential Drugs List (EDL) were available in hospitals,” he added.

However, sources said many drugs, which are part of 830 medicines listed under EDL and Rationalised Drugs List (RDL), were either unavailable or supply was delayed.

One of the reasons for this is the tendency of companies to shirk bids citing insufficient demand and profit. In such a situation, KMSCL generally opts for a retender. But, still companies don’t respond positively, forcing the corporation to issue Non-Availability Certificates (NAC) to hospitals which had placed the demand for these medicines so that they can make local purchase.

Source: Deccan Chronicle