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10 February, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Khulna Medical College Hospital

Doctors’ nexu’s with drug firms causes patients to suffer

GAZI MONIRUZZAMAN, Khulna

An unscrupulous section of doctors at the state-run Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) is allegdely prescribing patients expensive medicines instead of the ones that are available free of cost at the hospital’s drugstore, thereby depriving poor patients of free medical services provided by the government.
This practice on the part of the doctors—who allegedly prescribe such drugs in lieu of gifts from medical representatives of different pharmaceutical companies—is quite unethical, sources pointed out.
KMCH, the only popular public hospital in the greater Khulna region, was established on the KDA bypass road under Sonadanga police station in the city on January 18, 1989. It started functioning with 250 beds. It was elevated to 500 beds on July 1, 2008.
“The government allocates a handsome sum of money in the KMCH budget to provide 100 per cent free medicines to patients admitted to the hospital,” said Health Rights Movement (HRM) activist and general secretary of the Bangladesh Medical Association’s (BMA’s) Khulna unit, Dr Sheikh Akhtar-uz-Zaman.
Yet, a good number of outdoor and indoor doctors is prescribing medicines that are not available at the hospital. As a result, indigent patients are being forced to buy medicines from drugstores outside the hospital, he alleged.
He alleged there was a nexus between doctors and medical representatives of different pharmaceutical companies. Such a nefarious practice should be stopped immediately and action taken against the errant doctors and medical representatives, Dr Zaman also said.
The president of the Khulna unit of the Conscious Citizens’ Committee (CCC), Sheikh Abdul Qaiyum, alleged, “Medical representatives compete with each other to lure doctors into prescribing their drugs, with the aim of promoting their companies. This is affecting KMCH.”
He further alleged, “Doctors take expensive cell-phones, clothes, colour television sets, computers, refrigerators, air conditioners, air tickets to attend seminars at home and abroad, and even cash to purchase cars. Sometimes, they get so avaricious that they even take foreign cosmetics for their spouses from medical representatives. The doctors also get a large quantity of sample medicines from such representatives, which they later sell to drugstores.”
“Most of the doctors are persuaded by such medical representatives to prescribe the drugs manufactured by their companies. The medical representatives also persuade nurses and ward boys, who have links with the doctors, to promote their respective businesses,” Sheikh Qaiyum further alleged.
When asked about such illegal and immoral practices on the part of doctors and medical representatives, KMCH superintendent Dr Anando Mohon Saha said after he joined, he has nabbed several medical representatives linked to such unethical practices by doctors. “We called up their superior officials and warned them not to engage in any such further immoral practices. We let them go after issuing the warning,” he added.
KMCH now provides 95 per cent of the medicines to its inmates free of cost, but sometimes such medicines cannot percolate to the indigent patients because of the medical representatives, who act as go-betweens for doctors and drug manufacturing companies, Dr Saha observed. He further said, “We have strengthened our internal monitoring system. Our people now go to outdoor physicians in the guise of patients to check if they are engaging in such immoral practices.”
A representative of a pharmaceutical company, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We are appointed by the companies to promote their medicines. We have been set monthly sales targets. If we fail, our salaries are held up.”

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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