BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the State Government in connection with the procurement of sub-standard drugs and administration of expiry medicines to patients in four districts.
The apex human rights panel has directed Health Secretary to submit the report within eight weeks following a petition and subsequent rejoinders filed by Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy citing a CAG report.
The Health Secretary has been asked to provide details on procurement of drugs with year of manufacturing and expiry dates of each drug which was procured for distribution among patients in Cuttack, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh during 2007-13 besides the corrective measures to prevent such practice.
Odisha is one of 13 States which were issued notices by the Commission over fake medicines. Union Health Secretary has also been asked to submit a report in this regard.
The CAG in its report in 2013 had mentioned that expired and sub-standard drugs were administered among patients between 2007 and 2013 as four of eight tests conducted in the four districts confirmed it.
The CAG had also criticised the Government’s drug management policy regarding implementation of National Rural Health Mission as the planning was deficient due to non-preparation of respective plan and annual action plan at the State, district and block level.
While 11.67 lakh Misoprostol 200 mg tablet worth Rs 63.62 lakh were procured against the actual requirement of 9.07 lakh during 2009-2010 in the State, the CAG found out that the medicines were distributed without checking their quality.
However, pursuant to the direction of the NHRC, earlier Cuttack CDMO, in his report had admitted that expired and drugs of not standard quality were found in the district and disciplinary action was initiated against the errant officials. However, no other district officials (CDMOs) admitted the fact in their respective inquiry reports.
Tripathy said the petition was filed much before the findings of CAG. “Since most of the CDMOs are in a denial mode, an independent team of officials or the Special Rapporteur of the Commission should be entrusted with the investigation of the case,” he demanded.