In what could be termed a lacklustre performance of the state government entity, the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) has destroyed medicines worth Rs 44.13 lakh in the past three years.
The KMSCL is the central procurement agency for all essential drugs for public health care institutions under the government.
Though the corporation’s explanation to an RTI query on the reason behind this massive destruction was that “the expiry date of these medicines had passed”, experts point out that KMSCL failed in timely dissemination of these medicines.
This comes at a time when the state is facing an acute shortage of essential drugs.
“At present we have medicines worth Rs 98.296 crore. In this fiscal, the corporation has procured drugs worth Rs 142.09 crore. The drugs include antibiotics, drugs for respiratory tract, antiviral and Parkinson’s drugs, drugs acting on blood, cardiovascular drugs, obstetrics and gynaecology drugs etc and allied equipment. We are providing these drugs at 22-93 per cent discount through Karunya community pharmacy. In 2011-12, KMSCL disposed of drugs worth Rs 28.91 lakh as they were found expired,” the RTI reply about the disposal of medicines by the corporation said.
As the Karunya facility caters mainly to people in the lower income category, the lapse from the corporation is a loss to them as well, the experts point out.
The KMSCL, which celebrates the sixth year of incorporation on December 28 this year, intends to provide the best in class healthcare infrastructure services to the over 1,300 healthcare institutions under the Department of Health and Family Welfare in Kerala.
The RTI reply also revealed that the wastage of medicine has also increased during the past few years.
“In 2009-10, drugs worth Rs 5.5 lakh were found useless, the amount was Rs 9.71 lakh in the next year. The value of the ‘expired medicines’ was RS 28.91 lakh in 2011-12,” it said.
The increase was a whopping 197 per cent when compared to the wastage in the 2010-11 period.
The KMSCL has 26 warehouses as of now and it has no plans to increase the number, it said.
The money spent for drug procurement by the corporation is RS 126 crore (2008-09), RS 149 crore (2009-10 ), Rs 156 crore (2010-11), RS 178 crore (2011-12) and RS 312 crore (2012-13).