The state government has not yet framed any specific rules for private hospitals that are prescribing chemotherapy drugs to patients admitted under ‘Swasthya Saathi’ in their establishments.
The Health Department of West Bengal has now constituted an expert committee to formulate guidelines for banning certain high-priced drugs and emphasis on affordable drugs for cancer patients linked to the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme.
A health department official said, “Guidelines are yet to be framed to ban high-priced cancer drugs. We may need more time to prepare these as such guidelines cannot be prepared quickly. At present, all stakeholders are being consulted. We are trying to prepare it keeping in mind the interests of the common people.
According to some officials, though the health department has been advocating for low-cost chemo drugs to treat cancer patients, there are complaints that some government hospitals are running short of low-cost drugs.
In this regard, the health official said, “Such medicines are supplied by approved vendors through Central Medical Stores. This shortage is limited to certain drugs and certain hospitals. Hopefully the supply will be smooth in a fortnight.
Meanwhile, the department has asked all government hospitals to upload the challan for the purchase of chemo drugs for taking approval.