July 02 2020
Drug purchase for ESI hospitals under probe
02 July 2018

Procurement more than needed: DVAC

The State government has launched a probe into an alleged multi-crore scam in the purchase of medicines for Employees State Insurance (ESI) hospitals across Tamil Nadu.

The allegation is that medicines worth several crores of rupees were purchased over and above the actual requirement at these hospitals, where a few lakh employees covered under the ESI Act are provided health care.

“We have received a report from the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption seeking appropriate action against a senior official in the Health Department for his alleged involvement in the scam,” an official privy to the development told The Hindu on Sunday.

Explaining the nature of the offence, the official said that revised indents for the purchase of medicines much more than the actual requirement were obtained and the medicines procured. “Whether these medicines were supplied to the ESI hospitals and subsequently to the patients remains to be investigated. There was no need to procure beyond the requirement since it not only leads to irregularities but also causes a loss to the exchequer due to the expiry of such drugs. After the offence was established, the DVAC sent a report to the government,” the official said.

The alleged scam comes at a time when investigation into a complaint of organ theft from a brain-dead patient in a private hospital in Salem has gathered momentum.

A special team investigating the complaint preferred by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that the organs of P. Manikandan, an accident victim, were removed without the consent of the family has recorded the statements of the family members, doctors and officials of the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (Transtan).

Sources in the Health Department said that the team comprising a Deputy Superintendent of Police and two eminent doctors made enquiries in two corporate hospitals that used the organs for transplantation benefiting two foreign patients.

“The initial input was that the corporate hospitals gave a ‘decline’ message for Indian patients requiring a heart or lung transplant on the waiting list. It was reported that the organs were then taken for two foreign nationals – one from Israel and the other from Ukraine. We are checking further with Transtan authorities on this transplantation,” an investigating officer told The Hindu on Sunday.

The special investigation team that was constituted to probe the allegations submitted its final report to the State government soon.



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