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KTH finally sets up its own pharmacy to facilitate patients

PESHAWAR: After losses of Rs216 million to the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) since 2015, its administration finally succeeded in establishing the hospital-based pharmacy to offer quality medicines to indoor and outdoor patients on subsidised rates.

The hospital administration had decided in 2015 to set up a hospital-based pharmacy, but an influential member of the Board of Governors (BoG) at the time opposed the idea and suggested that a private party be invited to establish the pharmacy.

The then Hospital Director, retired Brigadier Fazle Akbar had told The News then that they received an offer of Rs3 million per month for the space meant for the pharmacy. The said BoG member, stated to be a blue-eyed man of the then chief minister, was accused of creating hurdles for the hospital administration in establishing its own pharmacy or renting it to a private firm other than the one proposed by him.

The issue had become known at the time as to how some of the BoG members were serving their interests by influencing important decision-making at the KTH.

According to senior officials of the hospital, the BoG member had planned to bring his business partner to set up the pharmacy but didn’t want to pay the rent which a private firm had offered.

However, he managed to stop the hospital administration from establishing its own pharmacy or renting the space to a private party.

Since 2015, the prime space at the entrance of the hospital has remained unutilised. Even if 10 percent annual increase in rent is ignored, KTH suffered Rs216 million losses, apparently due to greed of the BoG member, poor hospital management and incompetence of the provincial government.

KTH’s former Medical Director Prof Roohul Muqeem took the initiative to set up a small pharmacy to facilitate indoor patients when he realized that the BoG couldn’t do so.

The hospital earned revenue of Rs150 million from this pharmacy, but it irked some of the doctors who used to prescribe promotional drugs to patients and in return get their share from pharmaceutical companies.

Though it was a small pharmacy, it angered the private medical stores located outside the hospital premises as they felt it would damage their business.

Subsequently, six packets of medicines, each one of 10 tablets, dubbed as spurious were recovered from the pharmacy and a case was registered against the Medical Director Prof Dr Roohul Muqeem, who quit the job. Many felt it was a conspiracy to close down the pharmacy.

Later, a manager of the institution-based private practice was arrested on charges of selling spurious drugs to patients. The next target was Dr Roohul Muqeem but he successfully managed to fight them.

It was revealed later that a private medical store was involved in the scam and had put the spurious drugs in the KTH pharmacy to implicate Dr Muqeem and people close to him as the small pharmacy had affected their business.

The subsequent KTH administrators avoided to set up pharmacy in the hospital or let the space to a private party, apparently due to opposition of the private sector and court litigations as well inquiries of different government organisations in the name of accountability. This prime space in the hospital was never utilised.

Recently when the BoG after the tragic death of six Covid-19 patients due to oxygen shortage removed some senior KTH officials, Prof Dr Roohul Muqeem was appointed as hospital director.

The first thing he did was to cancel the contract of a private consultant for delaying the beautification project and his second decision was establishing the pharmacy.

“I am willing to spend five-six years in the NAB custody but will continue to initiate measures to improve patient care at the hospital and put KTH on the right track,” Dr Roohul Muqeem told his colleagues on Monday when Dean KMC Prof Mahmood Aurangzeb formally inaugurated the pharmacy.

He said his predecessors avoided establishing the pharmacy as the hospital director was supposed to register it in his name.

“I registered it in my name and will utilise all my resources to provide quality medicines at reasonable prices to the patients. I also plan to set up other satellite pharmacies in the hospital to facilitate the patients,” Dr Roohul Muqeem told The News.

Like the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), the KTH administration decided to sell on 7.5 percent income. In the Mardan Medical Complex (MMC), the medicine in the hospital pharmacy is sold for Rs15 percent income to patients. In the open market, medicines are sold to patients between 70 per cent to 400 percent.

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