Fair price drug counter at SMHS Hospital shut on complaint

Fair price drug counter at SMHS Hospital shut on complaint
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Officials blame drug mafia for false complaints

SRINAGAR: A fair price drug counter at the SMHS hopistal has been closed by police and two employees arrested on complaints alleging sale of expired drugs.
However, hospital officials said unscrupulous elements were making false cases to fail the prestigious project of the government-run fair price shops.
They said the “drug mafia” has managed the closure of a drug counter in connivance with corrupt police and drug department officials.
On Tuesday, two pharmacists of SMHS Hospital were arrested and the hospital drug counter was closed by police following a complaint alleging that expired medicines are being sold at the facility.
Two more persons—main distributors—were also arrested by the police on the next day.
All the four arrested persons have been sent to eight days Police remand by a local court.
They have been arrested in connection with a case under FIR No. 23/2018 u/s 420 (cheating).
Principal Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid strongly contested the claims made in the complaint and blamed drug mafia for the closure.
“It is a conspiracy against the project which was opened to provide subsidized drugs and disposables to people inside the hospital premises. This is not going well with private chemists and their partners. So, they made up this case after proper planning,” she said.
She said the employees arrested by the police were being wrongly charged.
“The complaint says that the expiry date on the package of a drug did not match the expiry date shown by its barcode scanning. But, that happens sometimes due to technical errors. The company who supplied the drug to us has already clarified about the same. They have given clean chit to the employees because actual expiry date on the package is 2020,” Dr Samia said.
The principal said she had also discussed the issue with IGP Kashmir and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar.
“They also seem to be helpless in this case. We are continuing our efforts to free our employees,” she said.
Medical Superintendent SMHS Hospital, Dr Saleem Tak said that due to the closure of the drug counter, patients were forced to purchase medicines, disposable and other items on higher rates.
“The counter would sell them things up to 50 percent cheap rates. But, now after its closure, the open market sells all the items at higher rates,” he said.
He said pharmaceutical companies who work with some private chemists will never allow such fair price drug stores to become a success as it is a lucrative business with J&K a huge market for them.
SMHS hospital has become the latest causality of the nexus, according to him.
Last year the Hospital administration had proposed the opening of Jan Aashudi drug shop in the hospital. However, some officials opposed the move outrightly.
A senior official told Kashmir Reader that the GMC Srinagar principal was pressurized by a lobby of doctors to stop the proposal of opening fair price drug shop in the hospital.
“They are doing it to please the pharma companies and drug mafia,” he alleged.
The absence of drug store in and around the hospital is giving tough time to attendants and put patients at risk.
“We have to travel either to Soura, Dalgate or to Lal-Chowk to buy medicines on subsidized rates for our patients,” said Abdul Rouf, whose mother is undergoing a treatment in the hospital.