Spurious ISM medicines: What is the reality?

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SRINAGAR:After attaching the Director General ISM Abdul Kabir Dar in spurious drugs purchase, State Government has appointed a committee to probe the alleged irregularities in the drug procurement in the department. The committee has been given a week's time to submit its report.

 

An order issued by General Administration Department on November read: “Pending inquiry into the matter related to purchase of sub-standard drugs in the Directorate of Indian System of Medicine, Dr. Abdul Kabir Dar, Director General, Indian System of Medicine is hereby attached in the Health and Medical Education Department, with immediate effect”.

 

However in his reply to the Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, Dr Kabir has refuted the charges saying the purchase of the drugs had been made after following all the necessary formalities.

 

“ISM Department has acted in good faith and has taken every care and caution despite all odds and obstructions to place indent with JKMSCL (Medical Supplies Corporation),” the letter to Health and Medical Education Department reads.

 

“With regard to the procedure of procurement of medicines, the department has adopted the most transparent mode of global tendering (e-tendering) procedure and after observing all the codal formalities with due diligence and keeping in view the options of technical, expert committees and competitive rates,” the letter reads further.

 

Earlier, Government through an order had permitted ISM Department to procure drugs and medicines directly from the market till March 2017 due to the delay caused in the procurement through JKMSCL.

 

However, soon after the fungus in a medicine had come to light, the DG ISM had placed under suspension the Medical Officer of the dispensary from where the samples had been lifted for not informing his seniors about the state of the medicines in his possession.

 

“My job is to ensure the transparent purchase of the medicine according to laid-down government rules. That has been done and nobody has found fault with that,” Dr Kabir said. “The process of purchase, however, doesn’t end with procurement. If later, it turns out that the supplied medicines are spurious or sub-standard, the supplier is accountable for it. And we take immediate action if we are informed by the medical officers who prescribe them”

 

Dr Kabir said that following the media reports about the complaint of fungus in medicines like Prostrate Forte and Kaishore Gugglu at a dispensary in Jammu, he had constituted an enquiry committee to investigate the matter and furnish its report.

 

“There are standing instructions at the institutional level to the officers and the doctors of the department to immediately report any change in colour, odour, appearance and consistency in any drug,” Dr Kabir said. “But no complaint was received from any subordinate officer till date”.

 

Dr Kabir said he was being “deliberately scapegoated”  for something that he had not done. “Truth is we take every precaution in purchasing medicines and place orders with companies which give a competitive rate and the best quality. This is what I have done,” he said. “If a medicine or two still turn out to be spurious, the company is responsible for it, not the department”.     

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