After a year of delay in procurement of medicines and equipment across government hospitals in Maharashtra, the state government is in the process of issuing a single tender for medicines for all medical colleges and public health department to end the impasse.
The move comes after Haffkine Institute, authorised to procure medicines, has suffered from lack of technical support to make medicine purchase.
The tender is expected to resolve crisis of medicines existing since six months. There are complaints of zero stock of solubility kits to diagnose sickle cell disease in 17 tribal districts where the disease burden is high, hydroxyurea tablets for sickle cell patients is also out of stock, so are multiple antibiotics for patients. Activists from Jan Arogya Abhiyan alleged that primary health centres suffer from acute shortage of supplies and have been forced to make local purchases.
“The medicines will be ordered in bulk through Haffkine Institute for a whole year to avoid any issue of shortage,” said Anup Kumar Yadav, who is holding director’s charge in Directorate of Health Services (DHS). The new tenders will be called in a week. He said the public health department has already submitted medicines requirement worth Rs 1,000 crore.
In August 2017, the state health ministry had transferred power to purchase medicines worth Rs 2,000 crore, and hospital equipment for medical colleges, rural and district hospitals to Haffkine Bio Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd following a series of allegations of discrepancy against existing machinery in medicine procurement.
Being a premiere research institute, Haffkine, however, did not have specialised staff to look into technical requirements of medicine or equipment. An official from DHS said it deputed 22 of its officials in Haffkine, while the institute appointed 20 new officials to formulate technical bids for medicines.