Lapses in Withholding Medicine Supply: Kerala HRC orders inquiry against Medical Services Corporation officials
Thiruvananthapuram: Observing serious lapses on the part of certain officials associated with Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSC) in withholding supply of certain batches of medicines, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) comprising of member K. Byjunath has recently ordered a departmental probe against the concerned officials.
It has been assured on the part of the Commission that disciplinary action would be taken against the concerned KMSC officials if they were found guilty. The name of those employees of KMSC allegedly appeared in a report of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB), adds The Hindu.
The Commission also observed that there were a lack of coordination and professionalism on the part of the KMSC, Government Drug Testing Laboratory, Directorate of Medical Education, the Directorate of Health Services and allied institutions associated with the supply and distribution of medicines throughout the State.
Suggesting several remedial measures for the betterment of the KMSC facilities, the SHRC panel has asked to submit an action-taken report in this regard within a period of three months.
As per the latest media report by The Hindu, the plea in this matter was filed before the Commission years ago. Back in 2019, the Commission had directed the Health Secretary for conducting a Vigilance probe and prosecution of KMSC officials, who were allegedly guilty for their lack in taking timely action for withholding supply of certain batches of medicines declared 'Not of standard quality'.
This lack on the part of the KMSC employees happened despite a report by the Department of Drug control, which had earlier conducted quality tests on medicines supplied to medical colleges and other government hospitals during 2013-14.
Following the Commission's order, the preliminary investigation by the investigation order had revealed that the petition filed in this regard had merit.
Last month, the Director of VACB, Thiruvananthapuram had submitted a report to the Commission in this matter, through his inquiry official – the South Zone police inspector. Based on this report, the Commission became convinced of the lapses on the part of KMSC officials.
The Commission also found lack of co-ordination and professionalism on the part of the KMSC, Government Drug Testing Laboratory, Directorate of Medical Education, the Directorate of Health Services and allied institutions involved in the supply and distribution of medicines throughout the State, adds the daily.
Directing the Health Secretary to set up a mechanism to coordinate and establish instant communication among the stakeholders associated with the distribution of medicines, the SHRC panel further directed to replace the traditional mode of communication with emails and other instant messaging options.
Such a direction on the part of the Commission comes to ensure that the directions and information related to withholding medicines could be conveyed to the hospitals at the earliest.
Further, in order to modernize the KMSC facilities, the SHRC panel directed the Health Secretary and Director of Health Services for increasing the capacity of warehouses and enhancing in-house testing facilities to ensure quick quality checks on medicines.
Besides, the panel suggested for setting up a monitoring system for reviewing the supply and distribution of medicines in a scientific manner, which would ensure that medicines marked as "Not of standard quality" may get immediately withdrawn and get destroyed thereafter.
Finally, the Commission has also suggested the Health Secretary and the KMSC managing director to explore the possibilities of buying medicines for the following year well in advance to ensure that the quality check by the laboratories could be done before distributing the medicines to the hospitals.
Such a direction has been taken by the Commission to ensure that the medicines, once distributed wouldn't have to be withdrawn and this would ultimately result in lowering the possibilities of health hazards.
The Commission has granted three months time for the concerned authorities to submit an action taken report.