Corporators allege corruption in drug supply

Mumbai: The unavailability of medicines in the city’s municipal hospitals was discussed in the standing committee meeting of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday. The Congress corporator and the leader of Opposition, Ravi Raja blamed the corrupt supply chain of medicines for the deficit. “According to the BMC guidelines, we buy 40% more than the required medicine stocks. Even then, if there is a deficit, the corporation should look into the process and procedure of the hospital administrations,” said Raja.

He said there is need for the hospital staff to label medicine as ‘BMC’ medicine. He emphasised on the checks and balances in the functioning of the staff of the civic hospitals. Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh raised the issue of spot quotation and inflated pricing during the purchase of medicine. Spot rate is the price quoted for immediate settlement on a commodity and inflated pricing when commodities are purchased at inflated rates. “There is a major nexus between hospital authorities and suppliers through spot quoting and price inflation,” pointed out Shaikh.

He sought to hold the BMC administration ‘accountable’ for the scams. The BMC budget earmarks `3,636 crore for health. Of the sum, `200 crore is used for medicines. A BMC inquiry committee has already been set up to probe medicine shortage in civic hospitals. The standing committee has demanded a revision of the schedule (in which a list of medicines purchased by hospitals are mentioned) and tabling of the inquiry report in the next standing and health committee meetings. The BMC has five medical colleges — KEM, Sion, Nair, Nair Dental, RN Cooper — and 16 peripheral hospitals.

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