CAG criticises Health Ministry for arbitrary medicine purchases

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) today criticised the Health Ministry and central government hospitals for not following standard good pharmaceutical practices and taking ''ad hoc and arbitrary decisions'' in the procurement process for medicines.

''The basic requirement of developing formal written procedures, using explicit criteria or key performance indicators for making procurement decisions were not met,'' said CAG in its report on ''Union Government (Civil) Procurement of Medicines and Medical Equipment'' (Performance Audit) presented to Parliament today.

It also said the Management Information System for tracking demand and supply of medicines and medical equipment had not been set up either in manual or computerised environment for planning and managing procurement.

Instead of having a common essential drug list or a local formulary list for DGHS and central government hospitals, separate formulary lists had been prepared by DGHS, AIIMS, LHMC hospital and JIPMER, the CAG pointed, adding Ram Manohar Lohia and Safdarjung hospitals did not have any formulary list.

''Large scale purchases of medicines which were not included in the approved list had been made by most of the organisations. The essential drug lists were, thus, unreliable,'' it pointed out.

Wide variations in the medicines actually included under variuos groups in the essential drug lists, across different institutions were observed. Techniques adopted for making accurate quantification of procurement requirements were not reliable as large cases of stockouts and excess stocks were observed which had necessitated purchase of medicine for local chemists/suppliers on a very large scale, the CAG said.


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