Allegations of Expired Drug Distribution to Kerala Government Hospital Patients Spark Opposition Uproar

The United Democratic Front (UDF) has accused the Health department of endangering public health in Kerala by distributing expired medicines in public-funded hospitals. According to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSC) engaged in corrupt practices, purchasing medicine close to its expiry date to help pharmaceutical companies get rid of unused stock in exchange for illegal payments. These actions have put the well-being of trusting patients at risk.

Accusations of Corruption and Violation of Norms

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, relying on the CAG report, has unveiled allegations of politically-sanctioned corruption within the KMSC. The agency is responsible for procuring essential drugs on a large scale. The report highlights that the KMSC violated government rules, which mandated the purchase of medicines with a minimum expiry period of three years. Despite this, the KMSC procured 1,610 batches of medicine that were close to their validity date and distributed them through at least 26 public hospitals. This not only demonstrates the violation of procurement norms but also jeopardizes the health of patients seeking medical care.

In addition, Mr. Satheesan has accused the KMSC of purchasing drugs of dubious quality that had not been cleared for sale by drug inspectors. According to the CAG report, the KMSC distributed drugs prohibited for sale to patients through 148 government hospitals. These actions have allowed a major pharmaceutical company to exploit the KMSC as a conduit for supplying expired and banned drugs to unsuspecting citizens.

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The Modus Operandi of Corruption

Mr. Satheesan has shed light on the corrupt practices employed by the KMSC. Pharmaceutical companies sold medicines to the KMSC at a significantly lower price, ranging from 10% to 20% of their market value. The KMSC would then pay the actual cost of the medicine to the pharmaceutical company, who in turn would reroute 80% of the payment as a bribe to officials responsible for approving the tender agreement. This corrupt modus operandi not only compromises public health but also diverts funds that should be invested in procuring quality medicines.

Tip of the Iceberg

Mr. Satheesan emphasizes that the CAG report only scratches the surface of the problem. He alleges that the KMSC has blatantly violated quality control norms, further endangering public health. These actions have raised serious concerns regarding the integrity and efficiency of the health department in Kerala.

It is crucial to address these allegations promptly and take strict action against those involved. The health and well-being of the public should always remain a top priority and must not be compromised due to corruption or negligence.

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