Telangana:  Director of Medical Education answers questions surrounding drugs shortage controversy

‘We have told superintendents to circulate list of drugs supplied by TSMIDC, and list of locally procured drugs, to all departments including Out Patient, Casualty’.

Published - June 08, 2022 01:08 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

Some unknown person buying medicines at a medical store and paying Indian currency notes

Some unknown person buying medicines at a medical store and paying Indian currency notes | Photo Credit: NAVEEN0301

The controversy surrounding shortage of medicines at Telangana government hospitals is gaining momentum as days pass by. The State’s Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy has held a video conference with superintendents on Tuesday and instructed them to make list of emergency medicines unavailable and procure them immediately.

In a brief interview, he answered some questions arising out of the controversy.

Are medicines in short supply at Telangana government hospitals?

It depends on how you look at it. If someone has fancy for a particular antibiotic and says it is not available, then it is a shortage. Something specific which is not available cannot be treated as shortage. Antibiotics, painkillers, IV fluids, are available with us.  One drug will be supplied by many companies. If someone writes a trade name, pharmacist might say that it is not available. Pharmacist knows molecule name.

What can be done to address this situation?

We have told superintendents to circulate list of drugs supplied by TSMIDC, and list of locally procured drugs, to all departments including Out Patient, Casualty. This was a practice earlier. It got discontinued. You can go through the list and write molecule name, that is generic name. There will be no trade names in the list.

What should doctors do if a drug needed for emergency treatment is unavailable, or if the drug that helps in recovery is not available?

Most of the emergency medicines are available. I have asked superintendents to critically analyze if any one or two drugs not available. They will be provided in adequate quantities to every hospital. Hospitals are allotted 20% decentralized budget, and have other forms of funds. They are given powers to use it to buy the medicines.

There are only a few drugs which are needed for survival. Rare entities may not be available with TSMIDC. But if there is a need, hospital will definitely buy and give it in view of interest of the patient. They will try to save the life.

Can it be procured in short span of time?

If funds are there with hospital, they will procure. They have done it so many times.

Why do private pharmacies continue to function in government hospital premises?

Private medical shops were there from the past 30-35 years. Our superintendents gave termination letters to most of them. They went to Court and got court stay orders. We are now taking steps to expedite the cases and see to it that the shops are removed.

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