‘Fake’ drugs in Delhi govt hospitals: LG seeks CBI probe, AAP minister blames officials
Raj Niwas officials said in a note to Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, Saxena said it was a matter of concern that such medicines were being given to lakhs of patients. | Representative image

‘Fake’ drugs in Delhi govt hospitals: LG seeks CBI probe, AAP minister blames officials

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj demands suspension of errant officials, says he directed an audit of medicines after assuming office.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has recommended a CBI inquiry into the alleged supply of drugs that “failed quality standard tests” and have the “potential of endangering lives” in Delhi government hospitals, Raj Niwas officials said on Saturday (December 23).

Reacting to the development, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said he had directed an audit of the medicines procured after assuming office, but no action was taken by the health secretary. He also demanded the suspension of the bureaucrat and other officials concerned.

Delhi BJP, however, demanded the sacking of the Delhi health minister over the matter.

The Raj Niwas officials said that in a note to Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, the Lt Governor mentioned that it is concerning that these medicines are being given to lakhs of patients.

“It is with a sense of deep concern that I have perused the file. I am, to say the least, anguished at the fact that lakhs of hapless people and patients are being supplied fake drugs that have failed quality standard tests,” read the note to Kumar.

Supply to govt hospitals

These drugs, procured by the Central Procurement Agency (CPA) under the Delhi Health Services (DHS), were supplied to Delhi government hospitals and may also have been supplied to the ‘Mohalla Clinics’, the Lt Governor said in his note.

“Tested by the government as well as private analysts/laboratories as per rules and statutory provisions under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, these have failed and are categorised as “Not of Standard Quality”,” he said.

Saxena, in his note, also said that “these drugs procured by spending huge budgetary resources are a grave threat to public health and safety” and have the “potential of endangering lives of people”.

“Prima facie, apart from CPA-DHS, GNCTD, there are suppliers, manufacturers situated in other states and drug controllers in those states associated in this whole exercise,” he said.

The Lt Governor said accordingly, as proposed at “Para 35, since the matter of ‘Mohalla Clinics’ is already entrusted to the CBI, this case, which may, inter alia, also involve the supply of these failed ‘Not of Standard Quality’ drugs to such clinics, may also be entrusted to the central agency, especially in light of the fact that the investigation therein involves multi inter-state stakeholders including CPA- DHS, GNCTD, suppliers/dealers, manufacturers in other states and other state agencies.”

The Directorate of Vigilance had submitted a report on the matter. There were complaints of sub-standard medicines being supplied in Delhi government hospitals. Subsequently, samples were collected from the government hospitals, the Raj Niwas officials said.

Suspend officials: Bharadwaj

In a series of posts on X, Bharadwaj demanded the suspension of errant officials. “I joined on 9.3.2023 and gave directions dated 21.3.2023 for audit of Medicines procured through CPA or otherwise. No action by Health Secretary.”

“Again action taken report sought from Health Secretary dated 24.7.2023. However, no response came from the Health Secretary. Procurement of medicines comes under DGHS and dept head is the Health Secretary. 2 months back, on 23.10.2023, I recommended LG Saab to suspend Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar and DGHS. Why no action against them? At least suspend them now,” he said.

BJP demands answers from Kejriwal
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said that the investigation should be completed swiftly.
He emphasised that the issue of substandard medicines is not just a matter of corruption as it puts people's lives at risk. "Those responsible for this should face strict action," he said.
Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely demanded the setting up of a medical board to look into the issue.
"It is a serious problem and a probe must be conducted... A medical board should be constituted by the government so that other medicines can also be tested, and action should be taken against those found guilty," he said.
Northeast Delhi MP and BJP leader Manoj Tiwari said this episode of the Delhi government distributing substandard medicines has exposed the Kejriwal government's claim of world-class health services.
The chief minister should come back from his Vipassana and "answer on this issue", he demanded.
Arvind Kejriwal left for an undisclosed location for his Vipassana course on Wednesday.

Earlier, when asked about the matter on the sidelines of a press conference, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai, who is also the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Delhi state convener, told PTI that the government will come out with a detailed response.

Rai said he had not seen the details of the matter. “The government will give its response after a detailed study. But such a system of sending matters for inquiries to the CBI has become a medium of obstructing the work of the government. However, in this matter, the government will study it,” he told PTI.

Addressing a press conference, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva attacked Bharadwaj. “We have the lab and vigilance report. The samples of the medicines being provided in the Delhi government hospitals have failed. We demand that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal immediately sack his health minister,” Sachdeva said.

(With agency inputs)

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