Civil Society Forum Kashmir (CSFK) today welcomed the decision of state health ministry to handover the case of supply of spurious medicines to Crime Branch and State Vigilance Organization for an in-depth investigation.
CSFK in its meeting held with the Health Minister and other senior officials of the department last week had made a request to this effect that has thankfully been conceded. “Since the preliminary enquiry report has admitted failures in verifying authenticity of the manufacturer and ensuring quality of the drugs supplied, there is need to reach out to the roots of this problem. CSFK therefore appeals that the special teams of the Crime Branch and State Vigilance Organization should not only expose all the people involved directly or indirectly in the shady spurious drug deal but make an in-depth investigation into the functioning and activities of Provincial Medical Stores, Central Purchase Committees, Verification Board, Drug Control Department and Drug Testing Laboratories over the past ten years. That alone can reveal all the rot in the system and pave way for its improvement”, said a statement issued here today.
“Further CSFK believes that the current expose is just a tip of the iceberg given the fact that all government hospitals of the state purchase medicines worth Rs 50 crores only, out of the total market of medicines estimated at staggering Rs 1000 crores in J&K state. There is need to conduct a statewide survey on scientific lines to ascertain the magnitude of spurious drug sale in the state”, it said.
“Further Ministry of Health needs to streamline its procurement and quality control mechanism on the pattern of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation. Drug policy needs to be implemented in letter and spirit as soon as possible and an order must be passed to review and revise the approved drug policy after every three years. Govt. must augment and upgrade its drug testing facilities on priority basis, streamline its drug licensing and pharmacist registration process and create vacancies for pharmacy graduates in all hospitals of the state. Govt. needs to establish warehouses for drug storage in every district on modern lines and ensure supply of only standard quality drugs to govt. hospitals”, the statement added.
It further reads, “While there are many social and civil society groups working on various social issues in the valley, CSFK has for the last five years been distinctly and specifically working on its clear cut agenda of improving the healthcare system of the state. It has successfully pushed several reforms in this direction including the formulation of a state drug policy and improving the facilities and functioning of the GB Pant Children’s Hospital. CSFK will continue to relentlessly pursue its agenda through sustained lobbying, persistent advocacy and logical interventions in future, spokesman of the Forum said in a statement.”