Hapless patients and their family members at the three government hospitals in the city continue to get fleeced by the chemists who sell medicines and surgical items at exorbitant prices right under the nose of the authorities. This,when the government-run Jan Aushidhi Generic Drug Stores at the hospitals present a dismal picture with no stocks for the past over three months.
While the Jan Aushidhi stores were launched almost two years ago with a mandate to provide medicines and surgical items at affordable prices for patients,little has been done to check the status of these stores as regards the availability of medicines,maintenance of the stores. Consequently,the other chemists on the premises of the three hospitals overcharge the patients.
Sample this: out of the list of 151 drugs which were to be made available at the Jan Aushidhi stores at PGIMER,GMCH-32 and GMSH-16,these hospitals have less than 50 of these on their shelves. To top it all,many of these are even expired strips of medicines and vials of injectibles.
A patient of diabetes,having blood pressure as well as renal problem,Suresh,60,had been running from Government Medical College and Hospital,Sector 32,to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital,Sector 16,to PGIMER to get the medicines. However,at all the three hospitals,he had to leave empty-handed the Jan Aushidhi stores after he was told that there was no stock of this medicine.
A senior official of the UT Health Department said,We are regularly monitoring these stores. At times,it happens that stocks get delayed but more or less there is no problem. Still,we will check if there is such a situation.
When Chandigarh Newsline visited these stores,the situation turned out to be worse than expected. At PGIMER,the Jan Aushidhi store is located far in a corner next to a dhaba,which has spread out tables for its customers right in front of the Jan Aushidhi store. The store has a severe problem of rodents which had destroyed cartons of medicines.
Many of the strips lying on the shelves of the store are either expired or are too dirty to be even touched. We did not get the supplies as doctors do not prescribe these generic medicines to patients and prefer to prescribe branded ones. Consequently,patients do not come to buy medicines,and most of the medicines that we had are no longer consumable, said the chemist at Jan Aushadhi store at PGIMER. We also find it very odd to turn down patients who come to us hoping to get medicines on an affordable price. In fact,many times,patients after looking at the empty shelves in the store mistake it for a medicine store of an alternative therapy.
In fact,if we give a patient generic medicine which has the same salts as the branded medicine prescribed by the doctors,many times the doctors tell the patient to buy the medicine with the same name only to project brands, said one of the workers at the Jan Aushadhi drug store.