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ISM purchases over Rs 3 cr drugs without Govt approval

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Jan 2: The Directorate of Indian System of Medicine (ISM) has last year procured drugs worth over Rs 3 Crore without any Government approval.
As per the documents, these included the drugs that were found by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABTCL) in November last year as sub-standard and severely infested with fungus and were declared unfit for human consumption.
The Government Order (No. 37-HME of 2016 dated 22-01-2016), issued by the Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education, had given the DG ISM permission to procure the drugs directly from the market till February 2016.
The Government order (No. HME/Acctts/55/2014 dated 22-01-2016) reads: “The arrangement shall purely be temporarily in nature till 29-02-0216 or till such time the supplies become available through JKMSCL, whichever is earlier.”
The DG ISM made huge purchases of the drugs after the approval expired in February 2016. However, in August after making huge purchases he wrote a letter (No DGISM/2856-57 dated 24-08-2016) to the Government (Order No. 37-HME of 2016 dated 22-01-2016) seeking extension for more direct purchases. The permission was granted but was later withdrawn soon after expose of spurious drug scam.
While seeking approval for purchase of drugs, the letter he has written reads: “There is shortage of AYUSH medicines in the field. Government issued instructions vide Govt. order No. 37-HME of 2016 dated:- 22-01-2016 which was valid upto 29-02-1016.”
In a supply order issued by DG ISM (No. DG-ISM/PS/2016 705-10 date d 02/07/2016) in favour of the M/S Talwal Medical Agencies Jammu, the company was asked to supply medicines to the Assistant Controller of Stores ISM Srinagar/Jammu within 45 days.
Another supply order by DG ISM (No. DG-ISM/PS/2016 692-17 date d 02/07/2016), the M/S Talwal Medical Agencies Jammu was asked to supply medicines to the Assistant Controller of Stores ISM Srinagar/Jammu within 45 days.
Another supply order for purchase of six drugs for Rs 2, 11, 302 was placed before Hardivar Uttrakhand based Ayurvedic company on July 4 2016.
This is not for the first time spurious drugs were purchased by the ISM. It has been going on in the ISM for last several years and according to a letter (CHQ/Clt/J-287/11/13924-25 dated 22-09-2016) addressed by the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police to Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education Department the drugs purchased from an Amritsar based firm in 2011 were found spurious.
The Crime Branch letter says samples of the Medicines purchased from the firm in 2011 and supplied to the ISM hospitals were sent to the IDMA laboratory Panchkola Haryana for testing. The laboratory reported that the drugs were substandard, contaminated, spurious and not fit for human consumption. The Crime Branch has requested the Government to take action against the erring officials for purchase of spurious drugs.
The Vigilance Organization Jammu is investigating spurious drug scam in ISM during which they found several drugs that were supplied to the ISM hospitals and drug store across the State this year as spurious and unsafe for human consumption. And on the basis of its findings, Government last month attached chairman of the purchasing committee and Director General Indian System of Medicine (ISM), Dr Abdul Kabir Dar and order Departmental inquiry.

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