Patna: Even as the vigilance probe continues into the irregularities made in purchase of drugs at PMCH, a fresh scandal of equipment and drug purchase at Nalanda Medical College & Hospital (NMCH) at prices higher than the rates quoted by lowest bidders has come to light. The state exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 1.01 crore due to these purchases made during the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10.
That’s the finding of a report submitted to the government recently by a probe committee constituted by the state health department. The five-member panel included deputy director (health services) Dr Jagdish Prasad Singh, drug inspectors Sachichidanand Prasad and Chunendra Mahato and two officials Rakesh Nandan Singh and Ramesh Kumar.
“The local purchase committee (of NMCH) recommended rates that were higher than those recommended by the State Health Society of Bihar (SHSB). Many drugs were purchased at even higher rates that were recommended neither by the SHSB nor the NMCH’s local purchase committee,” the probe report said.
Many drugs were purchased at inflated rates referring to “quality”. However, the “quality” was not verified by any government laboratory. Some of the drugs were purchased more than the requirement. Many documents provided to the probe panel were “overwritten” or “manipulated”.
According to the report, many agencies which quoted lesser rates were ignored during the tender to purchase drugs at higher rates. A consignment of 50,000 sets of intravenous therapy injection was purchased from Sona Drug Agency which was paid Rs 3.87 lakh more than the cost at which the same consignment could have been procured from Balaji Enterprises. In the purchase of surgical instrument BP blade, Balaji was paid Rs 80 thousand more than the cost at which the blades could have been purchased from the lowest bidder, Meriam Enterprises.
Multivitamin tablets were purchased from Balaji at the rate of Rs 40/tablet. However, according to the probe report, such tablets manufactured by Cipla were available at Rs 13/tablet in retail market.
The purchase of many other medicines and equipment at higher rates also finds a mention in the probe report. The report also says many agencies quoted same prices for same products, but one bidder was preferred without assigning any reason. Two separate tenders were issued for ‘Chemicals’ and ‘Chemicals for autoanalyser’. “However, there was no difference in the technical specifications of the chemicals and, as such, there was no need to invite separate tenders,” the report said.