In a few months, doctors of district hospitals and community and primary health centres (CHCs, PHCs) across Uttar Pradesh will be able to place orders with and get medicines directly from the UP Medical Supply Corporation Limited (UPMSCL) warehouses being set up in all the 75 districts of the state.
“All steps between the hospital drug distribution counters and the manufacturers will be eliminated. There will be just one stop in the entire supply chain — the warehouse. This will reduce the time taken for medicines to reach patients from suppliers/ manufacturers,” said Shruti Singh, managing director, UPMSCL.
UPMSCL has been entrusted with the task of supplying medicines to all government-run health establishments in the state. “Based on the demand requirement sent by hospitals/ health centres, warehouses will keep the stock of medicines ready,” said Singh.
She said the system would be fully functional everywhere in the state by January 2020.
Earlier, hospitals placed the order with empaneled/ approved manufacturers. After that the manufacturer started the process to send the consignment from its warehouse, which could have been located within the state or outside — sometimes even in south India. For this reason, medicines took over two months to reach hospitals.
The CHCs and PHCs had to deal with another step in the process — going via the office of the chief medical officer of their district — which necessitated still more paperwork. This caused delays, as orders were placed when the medicine stock fell below a defined margin.
“Since the medical store at hospitals are not very big and the requirement also changes with season, the hospitals/health centres were unable to hold large stocks,” said an official of a government hospital in Lucknow.
“Furthermore, as manufacturers cancelled orders, at times, due to production issues or delayed payment, the hospitals had no choice but to ask patients to purchase medicines from the medical stores outside,” he said.
Under the new system, hospitals/ health centres will first place an online order with the UPMSCL. Once the order gets a green signal from the warehouse concerned, the next step is collecting the stock. “The hospital will send a vehicle to collect the medicines. This is not expected to take over two days,” said an official.
“We have given liberty to hospitals to pick up the ordered medicine stock. This has been done to ensure that there is no delay in the stock reaching the hospital, which might have happened if the responsibility rested with the UPMSCL,” said Singh.
UPMSCL has blacklisted a drug from a Hyderabad-based supplier for a period of three years after samples failed quality tests at laboratories. In its order issued on December 6, Shruti Singh, MD UPMSCL, said, “Since the firm violated the terms of the tender and samples of the drug failed tests, ‘Ondansetron HCL oral solution’ will not be taken from the firm for three years.” The Hyderabad-based supplier had won the tender in May 2018.