Hospital, Corpn. lock horns over ‘drug bank’ closure

Drug sales have been partially affected at the SAT Hospital following a tiff between the hospital authorities and the city Corporation that closed down a makeshift office of its drug bank.

A temporary office of the In House Drug Bank (IHDB), functioning under the SAT Hospital Health Education Society, which has been operating for some months from the Corporation’s rest house on the hospital premises, was shut down a day ago the civic body objected to its ‘unauthorised use.’

The IHDB had partially shifted its administration and store sections to the rest house in view of the reconstruction work of its own building. This did not go down well with the Corporation authorities who asked it to vacate the premises. Things came to a head when Mayor Arya Rajendran and Medical College ward councillor D.R. Anil conducted an inspection and locked the rest house on Wednesday evening.

According to SAT Hospital superintendent A. Santhosh Kumar, the move has come at an inopportune time. The drug bank had occupied two rooms of the facility owing to a paucity of space to store medicines, PPE kits, masks, and gloves that have been in much demand lately.

Supply to hospitals hit

While the drugs and other products were shifted to an unused creche in the hospital following the Corporation’s demand, the rooms had to be used as an office with computers and minimal furniture to coordinate the drug bank’s database. “With the offices being locked, drug supply to many hospitals has been hit,” Dr. Kumar. He urged the Corporation to permit the hospital to utilise the building for activities it deemed fit under the current circumstances.

Chief pharmacist of IHDB Biju A. said the bank’s medical store has been bringing great relief to large sections by providing generic drugs for cancer treatment, kidney ailments and other diseases at much cheaper rates. Its N95 masks, PPE kits and pulse oximeters went for ₹10, ₹270, and ₹325 respectively.

“Most government hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram, including the Regional Cancer Centre, have been procuring medicines and equipment from us. The shutting down of the office has affected supply,” he said.

Mayor’s version

Refuting the allegations, the Mayor wondered how the medicine supply could be affected since the office had only a computer and several defunct items. She said the action was taken on the basis of several complaints and repeated directions made to the hospital authorities to vacate the building. In its last phase of renovation, the rest house is meant for caregivers of patients admitted in the hospital. There is also a proposal to utilise the building as a COVID-19 first-line treatment centre.

The Mayor has also complained to the City Police Commissioner and Health Department against reports claiming that the Corporation disrupted medicine supply.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 4:08:23 PM |

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