Calcutta High Court: The Division Bench of Rajesh Bindal, ACJ. and Arijit Banerjee, J., suo moto took up a matter in larger public interest which was brought into notice by Shivakant Prasad, J., wherein he had noticed disturbing news published in the daily Hindi newspaper ‘Sanmarg’ regarding apprehension of waste of medicines worth a crore of rupees in Beliaghata ID hospital. The relevant part of the communication mentioned by Shivakant Prasad, J. included apprehension of medicinal wastage worth Rs. 1 crore, whereas the patients are crying for the medicines and injections, a big chunk of medicine is lying without use in Beliaghata ID hospital and if it is not allowed to be looked into then it is going to be wastage which is sheer loss to public exchequer and the patient go without medicine and injection in other hospitals.

He further showed concern about the absence of proper management and distribution of medicine and injections by the Health Department, Government of West Bengal as in other hospitals. He further proposed that the Government should be directed to place such a mechanism to improve store management capacity by employing competent professionals, equipping the store with necessary technology and introducing monitoring and evaluating health supply chain performance system in the health facilities.

The Court found that the note by Shivakant Prasad, J. was self-explanatory and that there was a need to develop a mechanism whereby wasteful expenditure on purchase of medicines in different hospitals and also the medical colleges which are not required and have to be thrown in the dustbin after its expiry, need to be examined.

The Court directed that notice of the petition be issued to the State of West Bengal through its Chief Secretary and the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department and they were asked to apprise the Court about the amount spent on purchase of different medicines and other consumables in the State of West Bengal during the last five years in different hospitals and medical colleges and the amount of medicines which had to be disposed of as the same could not be utilized before their expiry date, and also whether there is any software used for monitoring the purchase, supply and utilization of medicines in different hospitals in the State to check wastage and unnecessary purchase thereof.

The Court opined that “The entire system has to be maintained with the help of information and technology, the era in which we are living. One needs to keep in mind that taxpayers’ money of which the State is a trustee cannot be allowed to be wasted like this.”

The Court added that, “The entire mind and energy should not be used for framing the schemes to make the voters happy.”

Matter to be heard on 08-07-2021.[Court on its own motion v. State of West Bengal, WPA (P) 180 of 2021, order dated: 22-06-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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