Punjab govt takes notice of corruption in free medicines scheme


LAHORE: The Punjab government has taken notice of rampant corruption in the scheme initiated by the government to provide free medicines to patients in Punjab hospitals, taking its cue from a report in the local news media.

According to a report published in the local media, officials of several hospitals colluded with private companies to purchase medicines at rates up to 35 per cent higher than market rates. The resultant misappropriation of state funds allotted for the purchase of medicines amounted to Rs 2 billion.

These observations were brought to light through an audit conducted by the office of Auditor General of Pakistan. The report was then forwarded to Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the Finance Department.

According to the report, patients at the hospitals were frequently told that free medicines were not available. It further said that the Punjab Health Department had been notified of the situation before as well. However, no response from the government was received, despite the officials from the auditor general’s office demanding strict proceedings to be adopted against the responsible officials and employees of the relevant hospitals.

Hospitals named in the report included Jinnah Hospital, Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, Services Hospital and Children Hospital among others.