Drug shortage leaves patients in lurch in MKCG Medical College

Though patients can avail 570 types of drugs under the scheme, only 272 varieties are being supplied to the outlets by Odisha State Medical Corporation.
Patients are forced to go to private medical stores as drugs are not available at Niramaya counters
Patients are forced to go to private medical stores as drugs are not available at Niramaya counters

BERHAMPUR: The State Government’s flagship Niramaya Yojana for free distribution of medicine implemented since May 2015 has failed to achieve its goal. While many medicines under the scheme are not available in MKCG Medical College and Hospital here, the mechanism to deliver the medicines that are available to poor patients has also failed. 

Resentment is brewing among the patients over non-availability of free drugs in two Niramaya outlets opened inside the MKCGMCH. They alleged that patients are forced to go to private medical stores as drugs are not available at Niramaya counters. Though patients can avail 570 types of drugs under the scheme, only 272 varieties are being supplied to the outlets by Odisha State Medical Corporation.

Sunil Nayak of Bijipur here alleged that of the two outlets, one often remains closed and the other counter witnesses huge crowd. Though the counter runs from 8 am to 4 pm daily, a patient has to wait for more than two hours for his/her turn to produce the prescription for free drugs. “On Thursday, I handed over the prescription after a long wait to the pharmacist who ticked all the prescribed medicines. But the person at the counter gave me only one medicine and wrote NS (no stock) for the rest three. Though I purchased the rest of the medicines from private stores, standing with my infant son in queue for a long time was  unbearable.”

Another patient Ganesh Sethy, who stood in the queue at 10 am, said his turn came at noon and he could not get any prescribed medicine at the outlet. A patient, who returned empty-handed, described the system a mockery and said the authorities concerned should hang a board in front of the outlet mentioning the availability of medicines to avoid wastage of time by standing in long queue. On the other hand, while the spelling of some medicines written on the prescription is not clear, it is not possible to identify the doctors who prescribe it as they scribble short signatures. Though there is a directive for doctors to put a clear and full signature with MCI number in the prescription, they never follow it, he alleged.

An outlet official said on condition of anonymity that MKCGMCH receives around 800 outdoor patients everyday, but the supply of medicines is less and the stock gets exhausted within a few days.

Hospital Superintendent Prof Charan Panda said necessary medicines are being supplied to the outlet and no complaint has been received from the patients about non-availability.

Healthcare crisis
Though patients can avail 570 types of drugs under the scheme, only 272 varieties are being supplied to the outlets by Odisha State Medical Corporation 
Patients are forced to go to private medical stores as drugs are not available at Niramaya counters
Of two outlets, one often remains closed and the other counter witnesses huge crowd
While many medicines are not available in MKCG, mechanism to deliver the medicines that are available to poor patients has also failed

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