‘Non-standard’ drugs supplied to govt hospitals, L-G recommends CBI inquiry

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Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has recommended a CBI inquiry into the procurement and supply of “spurious and non-standard drugs”, including some live-saving medicines, in the Delhi Government hospitals and Mohalla Clinics. After some complaints from patients, samples were collected from three major Delhi govt Hospitals – IHBAS, Lok Nayak and Deen Dayal Upadhyay and were sent to the approved labs for testing. Over 10 per cent of the medicine samples failed and were found to be “Not of standard quality”, said a Raj Niwas Official on Saturday.

Reacting to the development, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said that after assuming office, he had directed an audit of the medicines procured, but no action was taken by the Health Secretary. He also demanded the suspension of the bureaucrat and other officials concerned.

These drugs were procured by the Central Procurement Agency, under the Health Department of the city govt and supplied to various government hospitals.  The spurious and non-standard drugs being supplied include critical life-saving anti-biotic used for treatment of lungs and UT infections – Cephalexin, steroid for curing life threatening inflammation in lungs, joints and swelling in the body – Dexamethasone, Anti epilepsy and anti-anxiety psychiatric drug- Levetiracetam and anti-hypertension drug- Amlodepin.

Directing the Chief Secretary for action, the LG has noted, “These drugs procured by spending huge budgetary resources are a grave threat to public health and safety and have the potential of endangering lives of people. Prima facie, apart from CPA-DHS, GNCTD there are suppliers, manufacturers situated in other states and Drug Controllers in those states associated in this whole exercise.”

“Accordingly, since the matter of Mohalla Clinics is already entrusted to CBI, this case, which may, inter alia, also involve supply of these failed “Not of Standard Quality” drugs to such clinics, may also be entrusted to the Central Agency, especially in light of the fact that the investigation therein involves multi inter-state stakeholders including CPA-DHS, GNCTD, suppliers/dealers, manufacturers in other states and other state agencies,” the LG said.

The move comes after, the Drug Controller under Health Department, GNCTD, on the basis of complaints regarding sub-standard medicines being supplied in Delhi Government hospitals, randomly collected the drug samples from these hospitals and sent them to the approved government and private labs for testing. The complainants said that these “frequently-used” medicines given in these hospitals were ineffective on the patients.

The reports of the labs were sent by the Drug Controller and the Department of Health for further necessary action to the Directorate of Vigilance (DoV).  The DoV, based on test reports, found that more than 10% of the drug/medicine samples failed and were found to be “Not of standard quality”.According to the Vigilance Department, out of 43 samples that were sent to government labs, 3 samples failed the test as 12 reports are still pending. Further, out of another 43 samples sent to private labs, 5 samples failed.  Reports of 11 samples are pending with the government lab of Chandigarh. The test reports concluded that those drugs which have failed the test are of “Not of standard quality”.