Karnataka government has expressed serious concern over the diversion of drugs being supplied to the State government hospitals and primary health centres to the private pharmacy retail outlets.

According to the Karnataka medical education minister, Ramachandra Gowda, the state has supplied drugs worth Rs 116 crore to all the primary health care centres and the district hospitals which also included the government medical centres annually. In addition, the Centre provides drugs worth Rs 100 crore to these medical facilities.

A major part of these supplies, meant to be given away to the poor patients, has been going to the counters of private pharmacy chemists. Although this statement was objected to by government pharmacists at a state level conference organized by the Karnataka government Pharmacists Association, the minister for medical education asserted the fact confidently.

At least 40 per cent of the medicines supplied to these primary health centres and government hospitals were diverted. The medical education minister appealed to the pharmacists not to engage themselves in such acts.

Further, the minister also regretted that large quantity of medicines available at the government health centres were of substandard quality. There is also a discrepancy in the drugs supplied to the drugs maintained in the registers of the outlets at the government hospitals and the primary health centres.

The government has also the evidence to prove the charges, stated minister. The government hospitals were accessed by the economically backward patients and therefore every effort should be made to ensure the availability of the drugs.

Without delving into the allegations made by the state government, Nanjaiah, president, Karnataka Government Pharmacists Association said that there were no avenues for career growth for chemists employed in the government. These personnel retired either as a pharmacist or a senior pharmacist. He called upon the government to create posts of deputy chief pharmacists and chief pharmacists, besides increasing the pay scale of the pharmacists.