Vendors to stop supplying drugs to Maharashtra-run hospitals

Updated: 13 November, 2020 07:35 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Members of All India Food and Drugs Licence Holders' Foundation claim they are fed up of delay in payment from Haffkine Institute that procures drugs, medical supplies and equipment

The foundation's members have been supplying PPE kits since the lockdown to state-run hospitals. File pic /Satej Shinde
The foundation's members have been supplying PPE kits since the lockdown to state-run hospitals. File pic /Satej Shinde

In protest against the Haffkine Institute for not clearing their longstanding dues, the All India Food and Drugs Licence Holders' Foundation (AIFDLHF) has decided to stop supplying drugs and medical supplies to state-run hospitals from Thursday onwards. Members of the foundation that represents around 100 suppliers across Maharashtra claim that the dues amount to over Rs 200 crore and without them, they are unable to stay afloat.

The Haffkine Institute manages the procurement of drugs, medical supplies and equipment for state-run health facilities across Maharashtra. The orders are placed through tenders and Haffkine Institute is responsible for issuing cheques for the payment to vendors. Abhay Pandey, president of AIFDLHF stated that their dues have not been cleared since January and despite several reminders, they have not heard from Haffkine Institute. "The Haffkine Institute is extremely slow and is even lagging behind on placing orders for 2019-2020. They are not competent. Even though the state has already deposited the funds for payment, the Haffkine Institute is delaying issuing the cheques," he said.

'No reason for delay'

Pandey added that despite several attempts, they haven't been given a reason for the delay. "Throughout the pandemic, we never stopped working. From medicines, PPE kits to surgical equipment, we have been supplying all continuously. The state has to pay us Rs 220 crore for dues from January till June. We also have to repay our debts and pay salaries. All we are asking is for our dues to be cleared," said Pandey.

Also Read: Mumbai: BMC identifies 1 lakh frontline workers who will get COVID-19 vaccine first

While members of the foundation had earlier planned on sitting on a hunger strike, after being denied permission, they decided to stop the supply altogether. "We didn't want patients to suffer and were only planning to hold a hunger strike. But we weren't allowed that which left us with no option but to stop supplying medicines or equipment from Thursday onwards," he said.

T P Lahane, Director of the Department of Medical Education and Research, said that the money has been released from the state and he wasn't aware of the reason behind the delay. Despite several calls and messages, neither principal secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas nor secretary Sourabh Vijay were available for comment. All three are on the board of directors of the Haffkine Institute.

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First Published: 13 November, 2020 07:10 IST

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