The much-awaited drug procurement through the newly established Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) for different flagship programmes of the Union health ministry will begin soon as the infrastructure work for the same is in the final stages of completion.
According to senior officials in the ministry, the CMSS will be able to begin the process of drug procurement in two or three months time as all the necessary infrastructure for establishing the organisation is in a final stages. All the senior level postings including the general managers have already been made and the proper organisation will be in place in two or three months time. Besides, other infrastructure like warehousing facilities are also being established for the procurement of drugs, sources said.
The CMSS was established by the union health ministry in March 2012 to streamline the drug procurement and distribution system of the department of health and family welfare. It will function as an independent, professional and autonomous agency for purchasing all medicines, vaccines, contraceptives and medical equipments for all the government’s disease control programmes.
The CMSS will be responsible for procuring medicines and other medical products for the health sector in the country in a transparent and cost-effective manner and distributing them to the state/UT governments by setting up IT enabled supply chain infrastructure including state warehouses in 50 locations spread across the country. This central procurement agency of ministry of health and family welfare will be doing all the drug procurement now being done by the dept of family welfare.
At present, the health ministry is procuring drugs, vaccines, contraceptives and medical equipments departmentally and through procurement agents for its various disease control programmes. However, certain deficiencies, such as inadequate professional procurement expertise, absence of supply chain management system, manual collection of data and absence of any credible Management Information System (MIS) have been adversely affecting the procurement system.
The ministry thought of setting up a central procurement agency like CMSS as senior officials in the ministry felt that a professional, autonomous and efficient organization like CMSS is needed to eliminate the existing deficiencies and streamline the drug procurement and distribution system in the country.
There is a feeling among the senior officials that the establishment of CMSS will enable the union health ministry to efficiently procure and properly distribute quality medicines, vaccines, contraceptives and medical equipments to the state/Union Territory governments and also eliminate shortages and wastages, resulting in considerable savings to the government.