Medical agents carry out business illegally in hospitals

Ajay Raina
JAMMU, Feb 8: Notwithstanding claims of the authorities, the agents of some medical shops and private diagnostic labs have made city hospitals especially Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) a ground to conduct business illegally by luring the patients.
According to the credible information available with the EXCELSIOR, the patients admitted in city hospitals particularly Government Medical College and Hospital and Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh Hospital, are lured by some private diagnostic centres and medical shops for getting their investigations done and to procure the medicines.
Such a practice is common in the Surgery, Orthopaedic, Gynae, Paediatric and ENT wards of these hospitals where agents appear every night to lure the patients and their attendants for procuring surgery material required to be purchased from outside the hospitals and medicines. These agents even share their mobile numbers with the patients and attendants for delivery of medicines but without valid bills of their respective establishments.
“Such a practice may be of a little help for some patients and their attendants but some agents playing mischief for personal gains cannot be ruled out”, sources said, adding “many a times medicines of companies other than those recommended by the doctors are handed over to the patients on the pretext of non-availability of particular company drugs”.
Not ruling out the possibility of poor and semi-literate patients being overcharged by such agents, sources said, “there appears nexus between outsiders and some hospital staff for which this illegal practice is going on”.
Sources said that the failure of administration in city hospitals to keep a vigil over nexus between agents of medical shops, private diagnostic labs and some hospital staff has proved beneficial for the outsiders, as they easily lure the patients and attendants and earning heavy profits through this illegal practice.
“CCTV cameras are installed in all the City Hospitals and the touts luring the patients can be identified easily, but some hospital staff appointed there is least bothered about it, which reflects their nexus with these outsiders”, sources added.
Although it is difficult to track this illegal practice due to huge premises of the hospitals but luring of patients and making hospital premises a ground to conduct private business cannot be permitted at any cost, sources said.
As the number of such elements may not be gauged, their movement can easily be detected by way of close monitoring of CCTV footages on daily basis that too during night hours, sources added.
Sources stated that since this practice carries the threat to the lives of the patients particularly from the mischievous medical agents, the administration in the hospitals should wake up to the situation and initiate measures to check this illegal practice.
When contacted, Principal GMCH Dr Ghansham confirmed this illegal practice going on the hospitals and said that the security grid of the hospitals would be enhanced shortly. Besides this, some other steps including opening of shops by the Red Cross Society would also be made, so as to end the illegal business of medical agents in the hospitals permanently, he added.

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