No ‘Amrit’ relief for BPL patients at GMC pharma

BHOPAL: Below Poverty line (BPL) patients will not get free medicines from newly-inaugurated low-cost generic medicines pharmacy, Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (Amrit) at Gandhi Medical College. Like all customers, they would have to pay for medicines.
The GMC inked an MoU with the Union government-owned HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) in June.

“If the GMC wants us to distribute free medicines to BPL patients, it would have to be incorporated in the MoU. Similar process takes place in AIIMS,” said a HLL Amrit representative. GMC officials are tight-lipped over the exclusion. “BPL patients get free medicines through the state government pharmacy,” said Hamidia hospital suprintendent Dr Deepak Maravi. Currently, the pharmacy provides drugs and implants at significant discount of up to 70%. In June, GMC officials had stated the BPL patients would get drugs from the pharmacy for free. Generic medicines sold at less than half the price of branded medicines was first opened at the AIIMS, Bhopal.
Sources said that the U-turn in policy came after pressure from Gas Rahat hospital and related hospitals. These hospitals provide free medication to gas victims.
However, if the same medicines are purchased through Amrit HLL would be more transparent. It includes hospitals like BMHRC which have been red-flagged by CAG audit for procurement procedures. Generic drugs pharmacy is promoted by the government and is a scheme promoted by the Union government.
Amrit sells low-cost, quality generic medicine meant for treating diabetes, cardiac complaints, blood pressure and gastric problems apart from vitamins and antibiotics among others. Around 1,800 types of drugs and other medical inputs are expected to be dispensed from the government pharmacy. Patients without a prescription from government hospital, would also be able to benefit from the move.