BHUBANESWAR:A government investigation into the anti-cancer drug scam has revealed that the accused oncologist couple were the only doctors who prescribed the high-priced drugs allegedly manufactured by JBSL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd to patients as well as the Odisha State Medicine Corporation Ltd.
The drugs were costlier than those manufactured by Ranbaxy, Pfizer, Lupin and Sun Pharma even though they were of the same composition but the Drug Control Administration of the Health and Family Welfare Department had no clue about it. Meanwhile, the Orissa High Court on Friday directed the director, Vigilance to submit the chemical analysis of drugs prescribed by the couple.
Though drug manufacture and sale in the state are supposed to be monitored by DCA, Sudhansu Das, proprietor of JBSL, managed to market the drug for two years without anyone knowing of it.
Vigilance sleuths had conducted raids at six places in Cuttack, including the houses of senior doctor couple—Dr Surendranath Senapati and wife Dr Diptirani Samanta. “JBSL claimed to have units in Punjab’s Mohali and Himachal’s Solan districts, but investigations revealed that the units didn’t exist. Both Punjab and Himachal hadn’t issued any licence to JBSL,” DG-Vigilance Dr RP Sharma said.
The anti-cancer drug scam took advantage of Odisha State Treatment Fund and Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana schemes of the state during December 2013-2015 when the drugs were available at authorised medicine stores. Patients could procure the medicines with a prescription and get the costs reimbursed under the two schemes. In many cases, the high price of the drugs meant that patients exhausted their treatment cost limit quickly as they were made to buy JBSL branded drugs.
In the two years, the state exchequer is estimated to have suffered a loss of Rs 26.75 lakh because of prescription of JBSL drugs.