Inferior quality medicines supplied to Kerala create uproar

November 27th, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 27 (IANS) The Kerala assembly Thursday witnessed an uproar after the opposition attacked State Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi over the supply of inferior quality medicines.Congress legislator V.D. Satheesan said of the 102 medicines supplied to various government hospitals, 24 medicines, including those given to infants, were of inferior quality.

“Those in charge of the distribution have committed a grave crime because it was in Feburary this year that the tender for supplies was taken up and medicines were supplied. In April, a quality check on the sample medicines revealed that 24 products were of inferior quality. All the medicines have been consumed by the patients,” he said.

He said the danger is that even after the 24 products have been identified as inferior, these companies have been given the contract for supplies till the first quarter of 2009.

“It is here that there is some deal between the companies and those who decide on the supplies. It is strange that those in power have not asked to blacklist these companies because if one state blacklists a company that company cannot supply medicines to any state in the country and it is here that there is a secret deal,” said Satheesan.

Earlier, a central purchase committee for drugs used to oversee this, but with the Left government assuming office in May 2006, a Medical Service Corporation was formed early this year. It was entrusted to take over the supplies of medicine.

Replying to this, Sreemathi said every year Kerala medicines worth Rs.20 billion arrive in the state for distribution, of which only 10 percent are for government hospitals and the rest for private hospitals.

“When we came to know about the inferior quality medicines after the lab test, we have banned the products of seven companies,” he said.

Leader of opposition Oommen Chandy accused the state government of not doing anything to prevent the supplies.

“Are you not ashamed to say that you have not made any efforts to trace the people who have already consumed these medicines and you even after banning the product, you are not banning the company,” he said.

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