Staff Reporter

MD says companies will begin supply between April 15 and 30

There is one-and-a-half months’ stock now

Software to monitor stock

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) has sought to allay fears about the anticipated disruptions in the supply of drugs in the State.

All companies would begin drug supply between April 15 and 30 and many of the existing problems in the purchase, supply and distribution of drugs would be sorted out once the Corporation’s functioning becomes streamlined, KMSCL Managing Director Dinesh Arora said in a statement here on Tuesday.

Dr. Arora denied reports that the prices at which the Corporation was purchasing drugs this year were much higher than the prices at which drugs were procured by the former Central Purchase Committee (CPC) last year. “Out of the 448 items being procured this year, the rates for 253 items are at least 20-30 per cent lower than the CPC rates of 2006-07. Even though the excise rates for some drugs have come down from 16 to 8 per cent, it is unfair to compare the current KMSCL rates with the rates of CPC 2006-07 as the cost of raw materials has gone up considerably, especially for antibiotics,” he said in the statement.

Even though the CPC rates 2007-08 were about 15-20 per cent higher than the 2006-07 rates, about 60 per cent of the companies have defaulted in supplying drugs. About 30-40 per cent of the drugs that should have been supplied in the last quarter had not yet been supplied by the companies, as had been revealed during the stock-taking at the District Medical Stores (DMSs), he added.

‘Our biggest problem now is that we have not yet been able to get a proper assessment of the current stock because many companies have supplied the last quarter’s drugs only on March 31. Once the stock position is completed, we might have to re-modify our indents,” he told The Hindu.

There was no shortage of drugs at present and all medical institutions in the periphery had at least one-and-a-half months’ stock now that the orders for the last quarter had been supplied, he said.

Low price

Dr. Arora also denied the allegations that the 7 per cent administrative cost being levied by the KMSCL on the government would be added on to the price of drugs. He said that the drugs would be bought and supplied to institutions at the lowest quoted (L1) rates itself and that the 7 per cent cost levied on the government would be used for the KMSCL’s running costs.

The KMSCL was installing a new software for manning the drug distribution to institutions and all inflows and outflows from the DMS would be recorded. The software installed would classify drugs as fast or slow moving and would generate an alert when stock of items falls.