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City hospital finds drugs sold at discount ineffective on patients; Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital writes to FDA

City hospital finds drugs sold at discount ineffective on patients; Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital writes to FDA


Vicky Pathare

Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital has now written to the FDA, demanding an investigation into this phenomenon, days after they sent out a dummy patient to a local store to substantiate allegations

 

In a grave development about the state of healthcare in the city, a major hospital has written to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), demanding that the quality of drugs being sold at pharmacies here be investigated thoroughly.

 

According to the medical facility, it came across discrepancies in injections bought by a patient’s family from the market, due to which no effects of the medicine were observed, threatening the treatment and prognosis.

ABMH claims a Thergaon chemist sold an ‘ineffective’ injection to a dialysis patient for Rs 500, but billed it at Rs 1,726 without CGST and SGST components. The owner has refuted all the allegations

 

 

Earlier this month, officials from the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital (ABMH) at Thergaon wrote to the FDA commissioner, raising questions about the quality of drugs being sold at hugely discounted rates around their area, but not giving the desired medical results.

 

Due to inconsistencies in the billing of the same pharma products as well, the hospital has also complained to the income tax commissioner and goods and service tax (GST) officer in this matter.

 

It all began some weeks ago, when ABMH authorities received plaints from treating doctors about the non-effectiveness of injections administered to a patient that were brought by the person’s kin. This, they said, had become something of a common issue, specifically for patients whose medicines were coming from outside the facility. Concerned, the hospital management began looking into it, and the case of a dialysis patient suffering from a similar issue was chosen last month to begin investigations.

 

As per the letter to the FDA, the hospital said, “The patient we chose had bought medicines (injections) from a drug store in Thergaon. So, a dummy patient was sent to that store, Krushna Medico, to buy the same medicine. The pharmacy issued a bill of Rs 1,726 for the same.” But surprisingly, only Rs 500 was taken at the counter, raising doubts that the drug could be spurious or substandard.

 

When officials went to cross-verify with the drug store owner, he corrected the price in front of them. “Corrections were made in the sales register and the system, pegging the price of the medicine at Rs 500. Store owner Jitu Choudhary also submitted an acceptance letter affirming the changes. His bill did not even have CGST/SGST components on it. During thorough scrutiny of the case, it was found that several patients get injections from outside medical stores only because of the huge discounts on offer,” the hospital’s missive to FDA has stated.

 

According to ABMH, several medical shops around Pimpri-Chinchwad follow the same practices — and this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

 

Krushna Medico owner Choudhary refuted, “The medicines we give to patients are genuine and taken from statewide distributors. It’s not just me — everyone in our community across the twin towns sells medicines at discounts! I pay my taxes on time and give bills with these details. I gave a discount to the patient only because the company told us to do so.”

 

ABMH chief executive officer, Rekha Dubey, told Mirror, “We treat numerous patients every day and we are only concerned about their health. This development that was brought to the management’s notice by doctors is a serious matter. The patient’s life is our responsibility and we are answerable. It’s our priority now to find out why prognosis for certain patients is poor despite medicines being administered and expert doctors handling their case. When we probed this phenomenon, we learnt of drugs being sold at huge discounts being found ineffective.”

 

Dubey added, “This is not just about our hospital, but about society at large. Lakhs of people in the city purchase medicines daily and their genuineness must be scrutinised. We have written to the authorities concerned to conduct an investigation, so as to prevent any untoward incident that could take a toll on the lives of citizens.”

 

Responding to these speculations, Santosh Khinvsara, president of the Chemists Association of Pune District, Pimpri-Chinchwad chapter, said, “We give discounts to the public only when medicines we get are at discounted rates. The drugs are genuine. Who will give bills to patients for fake medicines? We give discounts only to poor patients, not everyone.”

 

Meanwhile, joint commissioner of FDA (drug) for Pune region, SB Patil, told Mirror, “We have received the complaint in which the hospital has raised concerns about the non-effectiveness of drugs, which raises suspicions about them being spurious or substandard. The drugs are also sold at heavy discount prices and we have to conduct inspections about the genuineness and quality of these. We cannot comment further and will do so only once our investigations are done.”