New Delhi:Government hospitals and dispensaries will now need to display the available stock of medicines, along with their expiry date, at their premises. The ministry of health and family welfare has written to all the states and Union territories (UTs) to make public what medicines the respective hospitals and dispensaries have in store.
“Many a times, we see patients queuing up at the dispensaries for free medicines that are being provided by the government. After a long wait in the queue, they get to know that the medicine is not available. This not only wastes their time, but also delays the treatment. I have written to all states to ask their hospitals to put a board outside the hospital premises about the availability or non availability of medicines along with their expiry date," said J.P. Nadda, Union minister of health and family welfare.
“This practice will help people know the availability of medicines in the hospital or dispensary they are going to. The expiry dates will also help the patients decide whether to accept the medicine or not according to the length of their treatment. In case the hospital or dispensary does not have the medicine they can move on to some other nearby health facility," he added.
According to the ministry of health and family welfare, drugs contribute over 70% of the out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) at the point of care. Under the National Health Mission (NHM), the Union health ministry has been helping the states financially to improve access to free, affordable and quality healthcare.
The government is implementing the NHM Free Drugs and Free Diagnostics Service Initiative to provide essential drugs and diagnostics facilities, in line with the National Health Policy 2017.
The guidelines for the Free Essential Drugs Initiative of the Union health ministry say that the states must have a facility-wise Essential Drug List (EDL) and display them prominently at each facility.
The initiative also involves putting in place a robust procurement system, IT-backed logistics and supply chain management, proper warehousing and necessary drug regulatory and quality assurance mechanisms, standard treatment guidelines, prescription audits and grievance redressal systems.