Ctg pharmacies flooded with medicines for free distribution

Share This Post

Publication Date: 14 November, 2015
Media: The Independent
Mobile courts of the Chittagong district administration have found that medicines meant for free distribution at government hospitals and health centres were selling at 72 of the 118 pharmacies. Pharmacies of the port city have been flooded with government medicines, physicians’ samples, unapproved Indian medicines, substandard food supplements and medicines past their expiry dates. The mobile courts reportedly found some nurses and doctors working at government hospitals guilty of selling the medicines to drug stores instead of handing these out to patients.

The Chittagong district administration held 118 mobile courts in the city from July 7 to November 10, and imposed fines totalling Tk. 14,66,500 on 72 pharmacies. It sealed off 25 drugstores and had three people imprisoned. The courts also seized government medicines, drugs past their expiry dates and physicians’ samples worth Tk. 9,80,000.

Shockingly, some of the drugs, they found, were being sold at the pharmacies that were meant to be supplied from government family planning offices to people free of cost. These include medroxyprogesterone, some contraceptive pills and vitamin A capsules.

Executive magistrate of the Chittagong district administration, Mohammed Ruhul Amin, said, “The mobile courts found that at least 30 per cent of the medicines in some pharmacies were physicians’ samples and government medicines. In some pharmacies, physicians’ samples even comprised the entire stock.”
He added, “We found government medicines in pharmacies right next to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH). It’s alarming that at least 60 per cent pharmacies are selling government medicines, drugs that are past their expiry dates, and harmful food supplements.” Patients alleged that government hospitals and health centres hardly hand out any medicines to them except for basic drugs like paracetamol. Patients are told to buy medicines from the pharmacies.

Hosene Ara Begum, who has been admitted to CMCH with stomach ache since Tuesday, said she has been buying most of the prescribed medicines from stores. Lokman Hossain of Cox’s Bazar’s Moyeskhali, who has been admitted to the hospital’s nephrology department since Sunday, echoed her complaint.

His mother, Nur-e-kha Khatun, said that on the very first day of admission, they had to buy medicines worth Tk. 5,500 from drugstores. Since then, they buy medicines regularly from stores, and doctors have hardly given any free medicine from the hospital. She said she was begging from people to meet the cost of treatment.

Some unscrupulous workers of CMCH and Chittagong General Hospital (CGH) allegedly sell the medicines to the pharmacies. But they show in the documents that all medicines have been distributed among patients. Brig. Gen. Khondakar Shahidul Gani, director of CMCH, claimed that no medicine from his hospital has gone to any drugstore. “We try our best to ensure that no medicine is smuggled. If I find anyone guilty, I will take stern action,” he said.

“Sometimes patients have to buy medicines from stores as we cannot supply all the prescribed drugs due to shortage of funds,” he added.

On October 30, a mobile court seized a huge stock of government medicines from Monika Pharmacy in Sadarghat, which was owned by the husband of Basana Devi, a senior nurse at CGH.

The pharmacy owners allegedly confessed to the mobile court that Basana Devi supplied the medicines. The court fined the pharmacy Tk. 50,000 and sealed it.

Dr Sarfaraj Khan Chowdhury, superintendent and deputy director of CGH, told The Independent, “We have served a show-cause notice on the errant nurse. The matter is being investigated.”

Another nurse was found guilty on October 6, when a mobile court seized government medicines from Janakalyan Pharmacy in Panchalish, owned by Anik Barua. He is the husband of Runa Barua, a senior staff nurse at Faujdarhat TB Hospital, said Ruhul Amin, executive magistrate of Chittagong district administration, who led the court. The court also seized a huge stock of government medicines from the Baruas’ house. Anik was jailed for six months and his drugstore was sealed.

The local administration lodged a complaint on Wednesday with the Directorate General of Health Services, asking it to take necessary action against the corrupt nurse. However, no action has been taken yet. All phone calls to Dr Alauddin Mozumder, health director of Chittagong division, for his comments, went unanswered. There are 14 upazila health complexes, 72 union health centres and nine urban dispensaries under the Chittagong civil surgeon’s office, and 133 union health and family welfare centres under the family planning department. It has been alleged that government medicines were sold to pharmacies from these health centres.

Dr Mohammed Azizur Rahman Siddique, civil surgeon of Chittagong, said, “It is true that government medicines came from the hospitals. Obviously some employees are involved in it, but they have not been pinpointed yet. I have asked the mobile courts to collect information from the pharmacy owners as to where they got the medicines from.”

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

Related Posts

Dhaka: A Refuge that Needs to be Rescued

With homes swallowed by floodwaters and river erosion, migrants...

The issue of loss and damage at COP26: Progress and frustrations

One of the main contentious issues at the Glasgow...

As winter nears, many in Bangladesh fear a Nipah Virus re-emergence

Date: November 26, 2021 URL: As winter nears, many in...

Moving Migrants

Published: The Buisness Standard Date: 24 July, 2021, 07:45...

Halda losing fish species, spawning in crisis

Published: The Business Standard Date : July 14, 2021 URL: Halda...

Halda’s sorrow from climate change, human action

Published: The Business Standard Date : December 31, 2021 URL:...