Chandigarh, September 1, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today slammed the Congress government for doing away with the price cap on de-addiction medicine buprenorphine, saying it would encourage corruption and would deal a serious blow to the de addiction campaign in the State. It also asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to reverse this order and call for an explanation from Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu and take resultant action in the matter.
In a statement here, former minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon said it was unfortunate that the Health department had taken this decision after a senior IAS officer of the department who had blown the lid off the earlier buprenorphine tablet scam had been shunted out. He said the former health secretary had detected the illegal diversion of about five crore tablets of buprenorphine worth Rs 200 crore unauthorised persons outside the system.
Mr Janmeja Sekhon said instead of brining in checks and balances and making entire system of procurement, sale and disbursement of buprenorphine tablets utmost transparent and making the tablets available at the lowest cost possible the government had removed the cap on the price of the scheduled drug which was used for deaddiction purposes.
He said such a move besides making the drug out of reach of addicts who were admitted in deaddiction centres, would also result in widespread corruption. “This will only benefit Congress leaders who have tweaked the policy for their own benefit”, while calling for an independent probe into the entire issue.
Mr Sekhon also asked the chief minister to direct the Health ministry to concentrate on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic instead of tasks like doing away with price cap on de-addiction medicines. He said the entire health system was in a shamble. “The situation is such that village panchyats are passing resolutions against allowing COVID patients to be shifted to government hospitals.
There are widespread complaints that COVID care centres are neither properly staffed nor have a requisite infrastructure to look after patients who are complaining of being denied access to even water. He said recently the government had even tried to profiteer from health services by increasing rates of all services including ambulance services by as much as three times.
“Opposition from the SAD forced the government to backtrack but nothing is being done to improve hospital infrastructure. This must be done at the earliest or we will be forced to go the people and compel the government to listen to voice of the people”, Mr Sekhon added.