Mumbai: Drug shortage at KEM Hospital; so, go and buy medicines from outside

Mumbai: Drug shortage at KEM Hospital; so, go and buy medicines from outside

Officials from the civic health department said, after the funds given to the hospital ran out in January, they had provided additional funds to the hospital to procure equipment, medicines and other necessities. For procuring medicines locally, the hospital dean is limited by a ceiling of Rs 10 lakh.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Friday, March 25, 2022, 11:17 PM IST
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Mumbai: Drug shortage at KEM Hospital; so, go and buy medicines from outside | File Photo

Now, it is not just state-run hospitals which are reeling under an acute shortage of medicines, the civic-run King Edward Memorial Hospital too is similarly afflicted. Accordingly, patients have been asked to get clinical medicine services from outside the hospital. Strapped hospital authorities have started procuring scheduled drugs locally as the central purchase department of BMC has fallen behind in the process. Civic officials have cited the ongoing third wave of Covid and non-responsive bidders as the main reasons for the delay in procuring the medicines.

The issue came to light after a social media message went viral on Friday morning. “At KEM hospital the situation is so bad in ICU ward no. 4A ground floor. Dead bodies lie unattended for hours All staff & doctors r so body & overloaded with work as huge no. Of inward & out patients, Medicine & testing tube, even cotton hand gloves not in stock, no drinking water,” tweeted @potholeswarriors foundation.

Officials from the civic health department said, after the funds given to the hospital ran out in January, they had provided additional funds to the hospital to procure equipment, medicines and other necessities. For procuring medicines locally, the hospital dean is limited by a ceiling of Rs 10 lakh.

“The hospital authorities had informed us about the dwindling medicine stock, following which we had sent a tender to the CPD. The procurement process takes around three months. But we have not been getting good responses from bidders for the past few months. However, will meet with the CPD and resolve this issue immediately,” according to an official.

Meanwhile, patients have been asked to procure non-scheduled drugs from chemists outside the hospital. “We are from the below poverty line section, which is why we opt to get treated at the BMC hospital. But we have to face many problems at the hospital – just now, I was asked to buy a glucose bottle outside the hospital, which cost me Rs 79,” said Rajesh Chavan, a patient’s relative.

Hospital officials said there was no medicine shortage during the pandemic, but now, since the easing of pandemic restrictions, they have been facing problems, as the required stock of scheduled drugs have not been delivered and they are compelled to procure it locally.

“We had sent the proposal of scheduled drugs required in the hospital to the central purchase department, which has failed to replenish our stock. We are purchasing medicines locally but as the procurement limit is only up to Rs 2.99 lakh, the stock is exhausted in just over a week or so. However, we are still waiting for the stock,” said an official.

Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) Suresh Kakani said, “As per my knowledge, there should be no shortage of medicine at hospitals. Patients are only asked to procure non-scheduled drugs which are not available in the hospital. We also provide additional funds to hospitals in case of emergency and they are allowed to procure scheduled drugs locally.”

Health experts have raised serious concerns over the shortage of medicine, saying this is why many patients opt for private hospitals over the civic ones.

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