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Govt mulls shutting down private pharmacies at govt hospitals

The government is exploring the possibility of shutting down private pharmacies on the premises of State-run hospitals. A list of such pharmacies has been prepared, said sources.

Superintendents of the hospitals were directed to send details of the private medical shops such as the year from which they started functioning, issuance of lease contract and legal cases, if any.

“A list containing such details is being prepared,” said the superintendent of a government hospital.

Sources said all barriers in taking a final decision will be worked through gradually. “The steps would be taken aggressively,” said a source.

Senior officials said they wish to bring down financial burden on poor patients visiting government hospitals. “There are some medicines which are prescribed only in select cases. Hospital administrators are given funds to buy those categories of medicines, and other medicines on short notice,” said a senior official.

On several occasions, attendants of patients were seen buying medicines from the private shops. Sources shared that a list of medicines available at a hospital are provided to the doctors. However, doctors said that the list is not updated regularly, and added that shutting down private pharmacies would hugely benefit patients, but the step should be taken after ensuring all medicines are available at the government hospitals. A mechanism must be created to procure medicines on emergency basis, the doctors stressed.

“Besides, there are medicines which are costly and used rarely. There are certain situations when a low-costing drug will help a patient recover, but would not be available at the hospital. Should the patient wait for the administration to file an indent and procure the drug? What if the patient’s life is at stake? Such situations have to be addressed before shutting down private pharmacies,” said a senior government doctor. The Hindu

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