Srinagar: The shortage of drugs at SMHS Hospital has left some poor families in debt, so costly it is proving to purchase the drugs from the open market.
Mushtaq Ahmad from Langate area of north Kashmir said he spent nearly Rs 1 lakh on his father’s treatment after he was admitted to SMHS Hospital three weeks ago.
“We are already in huge debt as my father is the lone bread earner,” he said.
Mushtaq said that the hospital did not have stock of Ceftriaxone, Metoprolol, Mucomix, Febustat, and some consumables, even though the doctors prescribe these drugs to a large number of patients.
He said their family spends Rs 4,000 per day on medicines alone. The hospital only provides intravenous fluids and one injection.
“Doctors even asked us to buy ourselves simple test strips for checking blood sugar,” Mushtaq said.
A family from downtown Srinagar has been forced to approach NGOs for financial help to sponsor the treatment of their head of family, Ghulam Hassan, who has been admitted to SMHS hospital many times since September this year.
“No one is coming to help us. We approached many affluent people and NGOs for help. The NGOs told us they can’t support us because we require a huge amount for the treatment,” said Romisa, Ghulam Hassan’s daughter.
Hassan’s health began deteriorating since 2014, immediately after the floods hit Kashmir, she said. “He has been in and out of hospital since then. Doctors have not been able to improve his condition,” Romisa said.
“The expensive medicines are the only thing that helps him keep a little stable. Otherwise, he feels sick,” she said.
The medicines which Hassan’s family are forced to purchase from the market include Azitromycin, Meropenem, Pantop, Fluvir, Dilnip and medicines needed for nebulisation.
Doctors at SMHS Hospital also rued the non-availability of drugs at the hospital’s stores. “We have put many patients on multiple drug therapy. Most of these drugs are not available in the hospital. Patients and their attendants face huge inconvenience and burden,” said a physician.
Rehtee Begum, 80, of Budgam has been diagnosed with COPD and doctors have put her on multiple-drug therapy. Her attendants have to purchase almost everything from private drug shops. The drugs include Moxifloxacin Hydrochloride, Fluvir, Calcium Polystyrene, and Nervofit.
“We spend Rs 3,000 per day on drugs and consumables alone,” said Ghulam Nabi Rather, her son.
The hospital is also short of medicines like amoxicillin, gentamicin and heparin, which have not been procured for months.
Medical Superintendent of SMHS, Dr Saleem Tak, admitted that some drugs were not available at the hospital “due to lack of approved source”. However, he claimed most of the antibiotics prescribed by doctors had been made available.
“I will look into the complaints. Maybe there is some negligence from the drugs store officials,” he said.
According to him, Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation has been delaying the supply many times.
“Now, we have been given go-ahead by the government to make purchases on independent basis. It may solve many problems,” he said.