Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 28:
It is hard to believe that a government would jeopardise the health of its people to grave risk by administering them medicines well past their expiry date, but that is precisely what the Odisha government has done – and for years together – if the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is anything to go by.
The report of CAG tabled in the Assembly today said 31 types of time expired medicines valued at Rs 0.74 lakh were administered during 2007-13 to patients in four out of the eight test checked districts. The districts are Cuttack, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh. The expiry medicines included tablets and injection vials.
In order to ensure that expired/time barred medicines are not administered to patients, medical officers are required to conduct physical verification of stocks of medicines and weed out time expired medicines.
More shocking then the administration of expired medicines is the explanation offered by the concerned officers when asked about it. They said time expired medicines were used due to excess supply of drugs lying in stocks, non-recording of batch number and expiry date of medicines in stock registers and receipt of short life span drugs.
The state government had stated in December 2013 that steps were being taken through online Drug Inventory Management System up to CHC level with FEFO (First Expiry First Out) method and alert system so that consumption of drugs can be monitored three months before expiry date.
It had further stated that once Medical Corporation becomes fully operational, all the above deficiencies would be sorted out.
The CAG also pointed out non availability of essential drugs which the government has procured above the requirement.
Audit observed that the hospitals were not provided with adequate number of essential drugs during Mission period. Government prepared the Essential Drug List (EDL) in 2002 containing 280 drugs and 10 consumables, which were to be updated every two years keeping in view the prevalence of disease pattern in the state.
“Scrutiny of records by audit in eight test checked districts revealed that 72 to 245 drugs were available in District Headquarters Hospitals and 41 to 243 essential drugs were available in sampled CHCs and PHCs,” the CAG report said.
Audit also observed that 11.67 lakh units of Tab Misoprostol (200 mg) valued at Rs 63.62 lakh were procured (May 2009) against the actual requirement of 9.07 lakh during 2009-10 for the entire State. Of the purchase of 11.67 lakh, 9.28 lakh units of drugs (79.53 per cent) costing Rs 50.60 lakh were issued (June 2009) to CDMO, Cuttack without any indent, it pointed out.
The CDMO issued (2009-10) Misoprostol tablets to peripheral institutions without assessing their actual requirement and receiving indent from them. As a result, MOs of Jorum CHC (14,000), Salepur CHC (34,000) and Berhampur CHC (28,000) returned tablets during 2009-10 and 2010-11 as they were unable to utilise the same.
Besides, audit found that 1.37 lakh tablets worth Rs 7.45 lakh issued to the CHCs were misutilised/ expired due to not returning the same to the CDMO.