THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is said that every coin has two sides. So does drug procurement in Kerala. On one side, the government talks of streamlining drug procurement, while on the other, the state’s drug procurement agency, the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL), has been functioning without a head for quite some time.
And, with no official serving full time as its Managing Director, KMSCL is finding it difficult to take any major decisions. Sources say the lack of leadership has also hampered proper monitoring framework for drug procurement and stagnated the corporation’s every other activity.
Its troubles began when former KMSCL MD R Kamalahar relinquished his post after getting fed up with allegations and controversies related to drug procurement and drug shortage. Now, in the past six months or so, no official was given independent charge of the corporation.
Rather, officials were only made in-charge of the corporation temporarily. Moreover, the post appears to have become least desired, with one official, who was assigned the charge of KMSCL, expressing his reluctance to take it, while another, who was given the charge, yet to take it up. This reluctance, sources said, exposed the administrative lapses within KMSCL.
“All this shows the grave issues at the administrative level that are boiling within KMSCL,” they said.Highly-placed officials, too, said the government would not be able to achieve its goals with only a General Manager to handle the corporation’s affairs and no one at the top post.
“The government announced that KMSCL would be streamlined. But, the announcement would remain in papers only, unless a determined and permanent person is posted at the helm,” they added. Despite nine years of existence, KMSCL has allegedly failed to come up with measures for hassle-free procurement and supply of drugs. Also notable is the fact that KMSCL was always embroiled in controversies.
Even the CAG earlier criticised the corporation of procuring drugs without the stipulated shelf-life and at higher prices. “Unless a dedicated person becomes its MD, the KMSCL functioning would not become transparent. Only a person posted permanently for three years at least will help the government in streamlining KSMCL’s services,” said officials.