Patients at Sarojini Naidu Medical College (SN Medical College) are facing a shortage of medicines at the Outpatient Department (OPD). They have to rely on buying medicines from outside the college premises. I visited the OPD department in the college recently, and my experience with the patients and attendants was an eye-opener.
After my visit to the OPD department, I found that the pharmacy counter was providing at most 2-3 medicines to each patient, and they were asked to get the rest on their own. Some regular patients complained that they had been witnessing this scarcity of medicines for the past one month and thus they had little choice but to buy medicines from private stores at higher costs.
Girraj Singh, a 45-year-old patient suffering from cataract, informed me that his doctor suggested buying most of the medicines from the market as the pharmacy has only a few medicines available.
He further added, “I am from Deori Raod, which is 5-6 km away from the hospital, and have to visit here often for the eye treatment. However, for the past one month, I have been witnessing the same problem and buying most of the medicines from the market. Men at the pharmacy counter have instructed us to buy medicines from the market.”
An attendant at the hospital, whose 7-year-old daughter has been suffering from cancer, is being treated at the college. He too has been buying most of the medicines from the market.
“The men at the counter tell me that they do not have any of these medicines and that they can only be bought from private medical stores outside the college,” he added.
27-year-old Rohit Kumar had pain in both his knees. Like the others, he too did not get medicines from the college and was forced to buy all his medicines from the market. He added that this was the daily scenario there, as patients only received 2-3 pills and for the rest, they were advised to go to the market.
Furthermore, official sources at the college, on the condition of the anonymity, informed me that a lack of interest among the officials was one of the reasons behind the scarcity and that some doctors, after prescribing medicines from private medical stores, made a good amount of profit on every recommendation.
Another source revealed that private laboratories are recommended for important tests. If any patient objects, they have to face the anger of doctors and other staff members.
Dr Shailendra Singh, the media spokesperson at the principal’s office of SN Medical College, said, “We have a shortage of funds for medicines which is responsible for the OPD crisis. We are trying to manage the situation, and hope that it will get resolved soon.”
Singh also added that the total fund that the college received for the medicines was around ₹4.5 crore for the financial year of 2016 and for 2017, the college will be receiving around ₹5.5 crore for medicines, chemicals, and other utilities.
Superintendent-in-chief at SN Medical College, Dr Ajay Agrawal, also echoed Dr Singh, claiming that senior officials had been informed about the scarcity of medicines and that the budget would be aimed at solving the problem.