'No mechanism to check medicine quality'

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 27: Health Minister P K Sreemathy on Thursday, Nov 27 disclosed in the Kerala Assembly that there was no mechanism available now to monitor the quality of medicines, worth Rs 1,800 crore a year, being sold through 15,000 outlets in the State.

Terming the situation ''alarming'' and ''shocking,'' the entire Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walk out in the House.

''It is shocking to learn from the Minister that there is no mechanism to monitor the quality of medicine being sold in the State,'' Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy said.

In the case of medicine supplied through State-run hospitals, the government had placed repeat orders from companies that had supplied substandard medicines in the first quarter of the year, he claimed.

''This is a serious situation as the government is not bothered about the well being of the common man. There is no attempt on the part of the government to study the side effects of substandard medicine that had already been distributed to patients,'' he said.

Earlier, opposing the admissibility of an adjournment motion sought to be moved by Mr V D Satheesan of the Congress, the Minister said there was a mechanism to monitor medicine worth Rs 200 crore a year being distributed through government hospitals.

But in the case of private hospitals and outlets, there was no such mechanism. It was for the Central Government to enact a legislation in this regard.

Intervening, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told the House that the government would look into the matter and take appropriate action.

UNI

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