Patients struggling with unavailability of life-saving medicines at Karunya Pharmacies

By KE Anil

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Kozhikode: Patients are struggling as life-saving medicines are unavailable in Karunya Pharmacies located at government medical colleges and other hospitals. There is a shortage of medicines for patients who underwent organ transplants including kidney and liver, like Pangraf, Vingraf, Tafka, Mofetyl 500 mg.

These medicines have not been available in Karunya Pharmacies for about six months now. Even though these medicines are available in private medical shops, they charge two to three times the price. The organisation of Kidney patients have claimed that if the patients stop taking the medicines, their lives will be in danger. The organisations have demanded immediate intervention of the government.

Medical colleges are yet to pay crores in arrears to the agencies, through which the Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) distributed medicines. So, many drug distribution agencies have stopped dispensing them. Various medical colleges have to pay around Rs 50 crore to the agencies.

The medical colleges under DME have to pay Rs 27 crore and the hospitals under DHS have to pay Rs 20 crore to the agencies as arrears for the past six months. Most of these arrears are from the pandemic period.

The KMSCL officials said that the decrease in revenue of the Hospital Development Society has also led to an increase in arrears. The shortage of medicines at Karunya Pharmacies got aggravated due to the suspension of medicine supply as the government did not pay its due.

The doctors prescribe medicines to kidney patients by assessing their health conditions. It is also mandatory to take the medicine of the same brand as prescribed by the doctor. The KMSCL buys medicines from companies at a lower price when compared to the market rates.

The organisation of kidney patients said that it has been over two years since the patients stopped getting the ‘Samaswasam’ pension provided by the government for them. The patients were to receive a pension of Rs 1,100 per month. Earlier, the pension amount was Rs 600, which they used to get on a regular basis. But as the amount was increased, the patients say, they stopped receiving the amount.

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