HYDERABAD: The two mental hospitals in the state, which get around 800 to 900 patients everyday in their out-patient (OP)wings, were facing acute shortage of medicines.
The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in Erragadda here and the Government Hospital for Mental Care in Visakhapatnam are the only hospitals in the state for mentally ill patients. These hospitals are sending back patients suffering from chronic depression and other ailments because of non-availability of medicines.
These hospitals, which cater to patients from across the state, have only limited drugs. “Many patients were not provided full course of medicine here, and out-patients were being sent back some times as there is shortage of medicine at the hospitals,” a senior psychiatrist at IMH said.
There are only very few drugs available in the market for mental disorder patients, of which mood stabilisers which are a must for the patients have not been available in the hospitals for the past few months.
The reason for shortage of medicine is that the drug companies have not been supplying medicines regularly to both the hospitals because of non-payment of pending bills to the tune of Rs 40 lakh in the past four years.
Medicines are supplied by the central drug stores of the AP State Health and Medical Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (APHMHIDC). But the corporation is not supplying enough medicines to the hospitals, the doctor said. “There has been shortage of medicines for the past few months and the government has turned a blind eye. The poor patients are forced to buy costly drugs in the open market,” he said.
Dr V Pramod Kumar, superintendent of IMH, admitted that there is shortage of medicine at times and the IMH had to pay dues to six drug companies which supply medicine to the hospitals. “Recently, we got Rs 8 lakh from the Directorate of Medical Education. We will clear some dues,” he said.
K Vijay Gopal, superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Care in Visakhapatnam, said that they had written several letters to the government about the shortage of drugs but there is no response till date.
At IMH in Erragadda, about 520 out-patients visit the hospital everyday, of which 450 are regular patients. There are about 360 inmates in the hospital, of which 200 are lodged in open-wards and 150 in closed wards.
There are about 300 inmates at Visakhapatnam hospital and nearly 400 out-patients visit the hospital everyday.