Delhi set to centralise drug and equipment procurement

The move will help government to regulate the drug prices by ensuring their availability

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Tuesday 17 March 2015

While patients visiting hospitals in Delhi might soon find it less painful to get medicines, doctors will not have to strive that hard to get surgical instruments. All this because the Delhi government has decided to soon adopt the Tamil Nadu model for centralised drug procurement for all public hospitals. Also, a warehouse will be made available to maintain stocks to address issues of quality of medicines and shortage of drugs.

The health department has been working on a proposal for the past eight to nine months. "The idea was being explored earlier too. But the new government has given it a new push," said Vijoy Kumar, additional director, directorate of health services, Delhi.

Centralised drug procurement and making the purchases transparent was also a part of Aam Aadmi Party's 70-point action plan in the run up to Delhi Assembly Elections 2015.  "Pharmaceutical drug and equipment procurement will be centralised to ensure zero corruption. Generic, affordable and high quality drugs will be made available to the public," read the 27th point of the action plan.

So far, public hospitals under Delhi government have placed orders for medicines and surgical consumables through Central Procurement Agency of Delhi's health department.

"Goods were delivered to the hospitals by agencies and payments were made directly. Once the payments are centralised, dealers and suppliers will not have to go to so many places for collection," said Kumar. He said a system of monitoring and lab testing of procured medicines is in-built in the model.

Kumar added that end-to-end data from placing the order to ensuring delivery of drugs in the hospitals will be maintained through a software called Nirantar. "It will make the entire process transparent and accessible to all. Stock will never run out as there will be enough in the warehouse. Bulk orders will make the process cost-effective as well," said Kumar.

He said that the officials have visited Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan where the model is already in place. Another state that started centralised procurement is Chhattisgarh. A draft proposal with changes that suit specific needs of Delhi is being prepared. "I think in a couple of months, we will be able to roll out the scheme," said the directorate of health services.

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