Pradeep Pattanayak

Kidney patients demanding specific medicines from private stores received a jolt as the government on Sunday made it clear that it is not feasible to facilitate purchase of medicines as per choice of individual patients.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra at Lok Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Mahapatra took stock of the situation concerning medicine supply to the kidney transplant patients in SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH) in Cuttack and other medical college and hospitals of the State. 

The meeting was convened in the backdrop of some kidney patients alleging that medicines supplied to the patients by the Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited (OSMCL) through Niramaya counters of Government health facilities have side-effects. 

The meeting discussed that all the medicines required during kidney transplant surgery and post-transplant treatment are being supplied free of cost at Niramaya counters. The quality of the medicines is thoroughly tested in NABL-accredited laboratories before being procured and supplied to the hospitals. The laboratory reports also proved that those drugs are highly effective. The OSMCL followed a robust method of online procurement, transparent quality test, and purchase. The medicines found highly effective and appropriate through rigorous scrutiny were being procured and supplied by OSMCL with no consideration for any specific brand.  

As per the data tabled in the meeting, kidney transplantation started at SCBMCH in March 2012. As of today, 187 successful transplantations have been conducted and treated by the experienced doctor teams of SCB MCH. Currently, about 120 post-transplant patients are under medication. 

Of the 120 patients, 90 patients are taking the medicines supplied through OSMCL. These patients have never reported any side-effects. The rest 30 patients are alleging that the medicines supplied by OSMCL had side-effects.

Citing side-effects, these patients have been demanding medicines of specific brands from private medicine stores. 

The medical experts present at the meeting termed their allegation as baseless, saying the same medicines are being used by around 400 patients undergoing treatment in Nephrology, Rheumatology and Dermatology and the medicines have had no side effects on them and that they are quite effective. 

Sensing the role of some ill-motivated drug agencies and specific brand private stockists in it, the high-level meeting made it clear that it was not possible to purchase medicines of different brands by choice of the individual patients.