CBI swoops on cancer hospital to probe drugs misappropriation

May 15th, 2009 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, May 15 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday raided the renowned Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital (TMCH) following complaints of misappropriation of expensive drugs by some employees, a senior official said.
The CBI was also investigating the role of six hospital employees, CBI Joint Director (Western Region) Rishi Raj Singh told mediapersons here.

The employees under the CBI scanner are Assistant Medical Superintendent Rekha Batura, Y.B. Dixit, office-in-charge of the pharmacy, P.B. Dhake, Namita Deshpande and Meena Nakhare - all pharmacists and upper division clerk Chetana Pawar. They have been detained.

Singh said that the staffers were found to illegally misappropriate the expensive drugs used by the hospital and selling them outside for consideration.

They allegedly made false memos for issuance of such drugs to cancer patients without the approval of the competent authority and the drugs were never delivered to the intended end users.

The CBI has also discovered that these staffers prepared duplicate memos even in the name of patients who had already expired.

Another alarming discovery was the use of protocol medicines, made by the Department of Biotechnology, which are meant for experimental use on terminal patients - “even these were found to be misappropriated”, Singh said.

He added that although the racket has been going on for nearly five years, the CBI is investigating on the basis of some complaints filed in 2007-08.

Though he declined to reveal how much money was involved in the drugs racket, he mentioned that the hospital pharmacy’s annual turnover exceeded Rs.81 crore (Rs.810 million).

“Whenever these instances were being probed by the hospital’s own vigilance department, either the operations were stopped or the officials transferred,” Singh said.

The CBI sleuths’ raids on the TMCH premises and the residences of the staffers were still on.

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