The Delhi government’s Essential Medicine List (EML) has come under scrutiny for being outdated and containing more drugs than the national and WHO lists. The situation has raised concerns about the procurement process and the availability of essential medicines in government hospitals and dispensaries.

Outdated EML Raises Concerns

The EML maintained by the Delhi government consists of 806 drugs and 1,520 formulations, a number comparable to the World Health Organization’s list. However, the list has not been reviewed since 2016, leading to the addition of new drugs without proper assessment. This lack of review undermines the effectiveness of the procurement process and compromises the availability of essential medicines.

Procurement Challenges

The outdated and oversized EML complicates the procurement process, affecting quality assurance, storage, and availability of medicines in government healthcare facilities. The Central Procurement Agency (CPA) faces challenges in sourcing the required medicines due to the extensive list, further exacerbating the situation.

Allegations and Counterclaims

Delhi’s Health Minister, Saurabh Bharadwaj, alleged that the tender floated by the CPA was not finalized intentionally, suggesting a conspiracy. However, sources from the Times of India claim that the Health Minister was informed about the availability of essential medicines during a meeting with senior officials. The conflicting statements highlight the lack of clarity surrounding the issue.

Impact on Healthcare Services

The oversupply of medicines listed in the EML does not necessarily translate to their availability in government hospitals. The discrepancy between the listed medicines and their actual availability creates challenges for patients in accessing essential healthcare services. The situation underscores the need for a comprehensive review and update of the EML to streamline the procurement process and ensure the availability of essential medicines.

Delhi Government’s Response

The Delhi government refutes allegations of medicine shortages, emphasizing that the availability of medicines in hospitals is measured based on the actual availability of EML-listed drugs. However, concerns persist regarding the discrepancy between the listed medicines and their availability on the ground.

Calls for Review and Reform

The discrepancies in the EML highlight the urgent need for a review and reform of the procurement process. A transparent and systematic approach to updating the EML, involving expert committees and stakeholders, is essential to address the current challenges and improve healthcare delivery in Delhi.

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Rishi Malhotra, an adept editor at Atom News, specializes in travel and cultural affairs. With a global perspective and a flair for storytelling, Malhotra brings diverse perspectives to our readers, making Atom News a go-to source for enriching travel narratives.