Mumbai Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Zero Prescription Policy Implementation In BMC Hospitals To Be Delayed Amid MCC Enforcement

Mumbai Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Zero Prescription Policy Implementation In BMC Hospitals To Be Delayed Amid MCC Enforcement

However, health experts have slammed the civic body, stating only new projects cannot be done during the code of conduct.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Thursday, March 28, 2024, 12:31 AM IST
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BMC Hospital | Representational image

The zero prescription policy, which was supposed to be rolled out at the BMC hospitals from April 1, is likely to get delayed as the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections has come into force. Tenders for procuring essential drugs worth several crore rupees have already been approved. The BMC has decided to write to the Election Commission to seek special permission for implementing the ambitious policy.

Health Experts Criticize BMC For Delay In Zero Prescription Policy

However, health experts have slammed the civic body, stating only new projects cannot be done during the code of conduct. They pointed out that the policy was approved in December 2022 and Rs500 crore was sanctioned for it in the BMC's budget.

A senior administrative officer, on the condition of anonymity, said that the civic hospitals are already reeling under a 10-12% shortage of medicines. Now, the general elections have become a hurdle in implementing the policy, which will be a “boon” for the underprivileged patients. “All the necessary processes for rolling out the policy were completed. There are less chances of getting approval from the Election Commission for the procurement of medicines,” he said.

BMC Aims To Overcome Zero Prescription Policy Delay

Dr Sudhakar Shinde, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said that implementing the “game-changer” policy is not that easy as routinely around 5,000 medicines and other items are required. “We want to introduce the policy at the earliest. Hence, we will be writing to the Election Commission,” he said.

In January, a tender worth Rs 2,300 crore for medicine procurement was floated. However there are 3,000 essential medicines that have to be included in the schedule. “Tender processes have been conducted for the purchase of medicines worth Rs20 crore. It also includes medical materials required for surgeries,” said an official. In yet another bid to overcome drug shortage, a per day limit of Rs40,000 has been set for the authorities to buy medicines. However, doctors said that the amount is not enough for hospitals with high patient load. 

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