Kashmir Indepth

ISM drugs ‘not of standard quality’ vPatients at risk

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Apr 4: The authorities have found drugs supplied to Indian System of Medicine (ISM) hospitals by the Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL), ‘of sub-standard quality’.

Sources in the Drugs Department ISM told Early Times that, 8 drugs, their samples taken from government-run ISM stores and markets, have been found to be “not of standard quality” by the drug authorities.

The officials said that recently 34 samples, 23 from government stores and 9 from markets were taken by the Drug Inspector ISM Kashmir. “Among the 23 samples of government stores 4 were not of standard quality while 4 other samples taken from markets were also found not of standard quality,” the officials maintained.

Sources said that some of the drugs tested not of standard quality are used in different diseases were containing heavy metals beyond permissible limits.

They said that these medicines were supplied to government hospitals as well as private chemist shops.
“The samples were drawn by Drug Inspector ISM from different chemist shops and hospitals of Kashmir, including ISM run hospital located at Shalteng Srinagar and supply stores. The samples were also tested at high standard labs,” the sources said.

Sources said soon after the report of supply of substandard drugs to the ISM hospitals, the authorities raised alert and ask all the hospitals not to take drugs tested as “not of standard quality”.
Sources said that the report has already been forwarded to the MD Jammu and Kashmir Medical supplies corporation for immediate action.

One of the doctors expressed shock over supply of such sub standard drugs to the government ISM hospitals.
“It is unacceptable that patients go to hospitals with a hope to get medicines but instead are provided poison in the form of spurious drugs.” the doctor said insisted not to be named.

We can’t know how many precious lives might have been lost because of these drugs as patient is always presumed to have died from a disease rather than these drugs, the doctor maintained.

The menace of spurious drugs spreading to ayurvedic, unani and homeopathic medicines is a matter of grave concern as many patients rely on these medicines. “Be it fever, cough and cold, constipation or diarrhea, arthritis and urine problem, the ayurvedic medicines are in great demand with patients,” another doctor said.

It is to mention here that the menace of procuring substandard and poisonous drugs in the ISM has been going on for last several years but the lack of any action on part of Government against those responsible has encouraged this practice.

Both the Vigilance Organization and Health and Medical Education Department have shielded the officials who were found involved in the drug scam in the past and that is being said as the main reason that the practice continues.
Six medicines supplied by the ISM to its stores, dispensaries and hospitals in Jammu region in 2016 and even consumed by the patients, were found sub-standard and containing fungal matter and other pathogens.
After the case was handed over to the Vigilance Organization, it instead of initiating criminal proceedings, asked (Vide Order No. VO-JMU-JSC-07/2016-12444-45 dated 27-07-2017) the Government to take the RDA against the accused.

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