Life-saving drugs in short supply at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Tiruchy

A confidential document accessed by TNIE revealed the shortage, which has come as a cause for concern.

Published: 01st October 2022 04:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2022 04:25 AM   |  A+A-

Patients getting medicines at a counter in MGMGH on Friday | m k ashok kumar

Patients getting medicines at a counter in MGMGH on Friday | m k ashok kumar

Express News Service

TIRUCHY:  Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital is facing a shortage of at least 10 essential drugs and 10 super speciality drugs, including a couple of crucial ones which are used for treating heart attack patients. A confidential document accessed by TNIE revealed the shortage, which has come as a cause for concern.

A senior doctor from MGMGH, on condition of anonymity, said emergency room drugs like Diazepam, Adrenaline, Dexamethasone, Nitroglycerin and streptokinase are out of stock. It may be noted that Adrenaline is used in treating cardiac arrest and Dexamethasone is steroid used to treat inflammation.

Nitroglycerin is used in treating a hypertensive situation when BP shoots up, and streptokinase is used in treating heart attacks. Oseltamivir is used as an antiviral drug in the flu season, which can potentially reduce hospital admission. Among super speciality drugs in shortage, Human Albumin, Human Normal Immunoglobulin, parental nutrition, vancomycin, Haloperidol and Lora Zepam are largely used in emergency care in treating cardiac arrest, seizure and other complications.

According to the document, the drug store alerted the hospital about the shortage on August 27. Another doctor from the hospital, who wished to remain unnamed, said the departments individually have some stock of the drugs. However, it is not possible to sustain it for a longer period. Acknowledging the issue, MGMGH dean D Nehru said,

"The shortage will be addressed at the earliest. I have approved the purchase of 11 drugs from local market today. The issue will be settled with two days." During times when Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation Limited (TNMSC) itself is in shortage of drugs, hospitals use scheme funds to buy from the local market, he added. General secretary of doctors association for social equality Dr Shanthi Ravindranath said, "This year, the usual state-level purchase from TNMSC has not happened on time.

This has led to shortage at hospitals in different places. Instead of asking the hospitals to shell out from their pockets, TNMSC should step in and address the issue." A senior medical official said, "Using scheme funds is not a viable solution. When we buy from the local market, drug cost go up. This defeats the very purpose of forming TNMSC." Managing Director of TNMSC Deepak Jacob IAS said,

"Speciality drugs, orders are placed once in six months. If hospitals run out of stocks, they can use insurance funds to purchase drugs from local market. As regards streptokinase, there is a shortage across Tamil Nadu. Stocks are expected to arrive on October 3. There are certain drugs which MGMGH never consumed, but is demanding now.

They will be transferred from nearby districts in couple of days. TNMSC conducts quality control of drugs, before sending them to hospitals. This process usually takes a couple of days. There is a possibility of some coordination issue between our warehouse staff and hospital staff. I will inquire into this." Deans at Coimbatore and Madurai Government Hospitals have, however, ruled out any shortage of drugs. When contacted, health minister Ma Subramanian said shortages isn't a state-wide issue.

"Some hospitals have changed their drug store staff, and the shortage issue might be owing to confusion by new staff. Two weeks ago, we had announced that people can bring to our notice any shortage of drug at any hospital. It has been 15 days since we made the announcement. There have been no complaints from people anywhere on shortage of drugs.

However, if Tiruchy has a problem, I will immediately get it checked and take action. For emergency purpose, a hospital can buy life-saving drugs using insurance funds. If there had been such a situation and the hospital had not bought drugs, it is the management's fault. I will inquire into that aspect too."


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