Panel to present report on medicine theft in Punjab

District health authorities are directed to adopt standards set by govt


Our Correspondent October 20, 2018
PHOTO: REUTERS/ File

LAHORE: The Punjab Health Department has advised the inquiry committee members to complete the investigations in three days over the issue of theft of medicines and allotting a tender to a substandard company.

Besides Health Secretary Saqib Zafar, Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid also took a strict stance over the issue and told the district headquarter hospitals that there would be no compromise on the quality of medicines. All the district health authorities (DHAs) have been directed to strictly adopt standards set by the government.

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The sources said the health secretary has directed all the officials concerned to submit a report after completion of the inquiry regarding the corruption scandal in Jinnah Hospital’s Patient Welfare Society. A few days back, the department set up an inquiry committee to probe the matter of theft of medicines and allotting a tender to a substandard company for the purchase of medicines. The initial report revealed that corruption worth millions was allegedly committed by the Jinnah Hospital MS Dr Asim Hameed in connivance with some administrative officials of the hospital.

The inquiry committee continued its investigation and collected the relevant data. Punjab Health Secretary Saqib Zafar also directed all the officials concerned to complete the inquiry on merit and submit a report in three days. Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid also held a meeting with the procurement cell of the department regarding the issue. The health department spokesman said the health minister has directed early completion of the drug procurement process in Punjab on merit and in a transparent way.

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While presiding over a meeting of the procurement cell of the health department, Dr Rashid said all the district health authorities would procure drugs for which tender notices have been issued.

The sources said the health minister has directed the authorities concerned to test all the drugs before handing them over to hospitals. The minister also expressed her satisfaction over the available stock of medicines in public health facilities. She reiterated that with the approval of the new budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, additional resources would be allocated to the health department. “Award contracts to the firms that have a good reputation and observe transparency at all stages of the procurement,” said the minister.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2018.

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