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Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation Limited: Offering Quality Products & Competitive Prices to Needy

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 Om Kasera, MD, Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation Limited

Om Kasera
MD, Rajasthan Medical Services
Corporation Limited

Despite healthcare services getting advanced day after day, we still lack adequate facilities that can provide full-fledged services to the needy. With the intent to provide healthcare and medical care services to all equally, organisations like RMSCL has been taking initiative in this direction. Om Kasera, MD, Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation Limited, shared information related to initiatives & objectives of RMSCL in a special interview with Kartik Sharma and Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN)

Please throw some light on RMSCL and its day-to-day operations.
Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation Limited (RMSCL) is a well-known centralised procurement agency for procuring generic medicines, surgical sutures and medical devices for the Medical, Health & Family Welfare Department, Medical Education Department and other departments.
Currently, we purchase medicines and medical equipment of around Rs 400 and 200 crore, respectively. Market of these medicines has the tendency to grow 10 times more at the value of Rs 4,000 crore. More importantly, if we at RMSCL did not take a step to buy these drugs of Rs 400 crore and distribute in the system, then people have to pay Rs 4,000 crore to the private pharma companies. And, we always look forward to provide our services to the people of Rajasthan.

RMSCL started with free medicine schemes which gained success and got equal support from the government too. But, do you face any challenge once the government gets changed?
Healthcare has always been in the priority list for the Government of Rajasthan, irrespective of whichever Government comes to power. In the previous Government, the budget was Rs 200 to 250 crore, which has now touched Rs 400 crore. This undoubtedly is a significant increase. We are undertaking more and more contracts and business is running in an efficient way.

What kind of relationship do you have with your partners or tender companies?
For us, business efficiency is the key to progress. Our relationship with our partners is very independent and that is one reason why we have made our separate corporation for the government department. On the other hand, companies associated with us are very professional in their approach. Overall, a lot many companies participate in tenders and a major increase in the number of participants has been witnessed.
Last time, about 125 companies, who illustrate our credibility and trust, participated in the tenders. Such an increased participation exhibits the growing eagerness and willingness amongst the companies to be associated with us.

What do you do to have fair and perfect relationship with your partner or supplier companies?
All RMSCL tenders are open tenders who associate through an e-tender portal of Rajasthan, procurement portal of Rajasthan, etc. Interestingly, all tenders roll in through an online process, wherein anybody who files a tender is able to see information related to all the participating companies and documents submitted by them, as well as participate in the tender process. Therefore, it is a very transparent system and we do not accept any document offline. Moreover, even the competing companies can view the filed documents and can freely come out with complaints if they come across any kind of issue.
Every company is equally allowed to participate in the system, subject to our technical qualification criteria. As such, we are very particular about quality at multiple levels.
The following are the qualification criteria for the participants:
• Must fulfill a turnover of at least Rs 20 crore in the last 3 financial years
• Must have valid healthcare certifications for the products that the company is quoting.
• Need to have a drugs certificate regarding the fulfillment of all relevant financial and legal technical compliance.
• We also conduct a step-by-step drug quality testing when drugs reach the district warehouses:
• Each drug is tested in laboratories.
• Quality checks & drugs are properly examined.
• Before distribution, apart from the in-house test report, double check is a necessity in our system.
• After passing standard quality in pharma, drugs are permitted for distribution from distributor to wholesaler to        retailer to the public.

Though drugs are properly examined, as mentioned by you, there is still sentiment in the public that government medicines lack standard in quality and it is believed that private healthcare medicos are better. Therefore, don’t you feel that there is a need to create awareness among end users?
Yes, this is still a huge challenge. However, as notified, whatever medicine we buy will cost only Rs 400 crore. On the other hand, the same medicines are sold in the market at the value of Rs 4,000 crore. The remaining margin of Rs 3,600 crore is distributed at various levels, such as doctors, pharmacies, chemists, companies, distributors, wholesalers, etc. Demonstrating value of the same medicines in a negative way is just a way to mislead and continue to earn through chain.
To put it simply, there is no possibility of any difference in efficiency or quality of the same drug sold through government or private model.

     Key Takeaways
  • Purchases medicines & medical equipment of around Rs 400 & Rs 200 crore, respectively
  • Provides adequate access to information related to participating companies & tender processes
  • Conducts random audits
  •  Aims to serve humankind, irrespective of any community, belonging, etc.

Don’t you feel that medical practitioners, especially the doctors of the state, are needed to be sensitised more. What’s your say on this?
Yes, there is a need to make our medical practitioners more sensitised. In the beginning, we came across this problem; however, now things are very streamlined. Every doctor is instructed by the order of Chief Secretary to prescribe generic name of the medicine instead of the brand name. We also carry out random audits to keep a check on any kind of medical negligence by the doctors and wherever any unbearable act is found then necessary action is taken against that.

Free healthcare services of Rajasthan have gained popularity all across the country. Moreover, it has been observed that people from other states come to Rajasthan to avail benefits of free medical care. What is your opinion on this?
We always aspire to serve humankind irrespective of any community, belonging or citizenship. Everyone has the right to get the right treatment at the right point of time and stay healthy. We always look forward to provide our services in the healthcare sector. More importantly, this money comes from the tax paid by the public and it should be used only for the humankind.

In terms of technology, online presence has gained importance in the lives of people. Even RMSCL is having online presence through various portals like e- Tendering, e-Aushadhi, etc. What is the success rate of such portals? Do they really serve the purpose?
We have been actively implementing technology to deliver efficient healthcare service and have been 100 per cent successful. Our portals are developed in-house and are used for supply chain management, inventory management, etc. It is a very robust model. As a result of such technological interventions, reports can be easily generated, avoiding any misappropriation. In the coming era, we will be able to witness the major change in public healthcare services, equipment, etc.
Our web-based application i.e. e-Aushadhi:
• Deals with the management of stock of various drugs, sutures and surgical items required by different district drug    warehouses of Rajasthan.
• Helps in ascertaining the needs of various district drug warehouses in such a way that all the required             materials/drugs are constantly available to be supplied to the user district drug warehouses without delay.
• This includes classification/ categorisation of items, codification of items, etc.
• The prime objective of a district drug warehouse is to supply drugs to the various medical institutes that are associated with the given district drug warehouse.

E-commerce has gained prominence all across the world. Even e-pharma and other online portals are selling medical care products. Doesn’t this affect your business?
RMSCL is not executing business for profit purpose. We purchase and distribute medicines free of cost to the needy. Our services are being provided to the people who are unable to afford even basic treatment or are economically feeble.

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