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LAHORE: After a delay of 40 days or so, the health department finally finalised the new rates and quality standards of the cardiac stents and some surgery devices to initiate bulk procurement for the public sector institutes and hospitals in Punjab for the financial year 2018-19.

According to official documents, the government would procure the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 19,000 cardiac stents and 14,000 other surgical devices, including heart valves for all the 11 government sector cardiac facilities in Punjab.

It has directed the successful bidders to ensure timely and uninterrupted supply of the cardiac stents and surgery devices after issuance of the purchase orders by the concerned procurement agency.

In the recent past, the issue of low-quality cardiac stents implanted to the patients in the Punjab government hospitals was highlighted by the media, showing loopholes in the systems of the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (Drap) as well as the provincial health department.

Rs30,500 and Rs13,250 approved for two types of stents

The health department issued a notification of new rates of the cardiac and surgical devices after the Central Purchase Committee constituted by the specialized healthcare and medical education department on Aug 28, 2018, recommended the rates in a meeting held on Jan 9.

Headed by executive director of Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology Prof Dr Anjum Jallal, the committee unanimously approved Rs30,500 and Rs13,250, respectively, for the two types of the cardiac stents.

Some 13 leading cardiac surgeons/cardiologists and heads of public hospitals from all over the province were the members of the committee.

However, more than 40-day delay in finalising the rates hit the government cardiac institutions and the patients hard as they have been facing an acute shortage of these life-saving devices for the last couple of months, an official privy to the information told Dawn.

He said the heads of the cardiac institutions had already conveyed to the health authorities about the shortage of these devices and the possible risk to the life of the patients requiring surgical interventions.

Later, it transpired that the relevant file was with Health Secretary Saqib Zafar for the last one month or so but he took least interest in resolving the issue, he said.

The cardiac institutions heads paid frequent visits to the health authorities offices to remind them of the significance of the matter, but to no avail, he said.

The health secretary finally singed the file, allowing the central purchase committee to convene a meeting three days back when senior medics again visited his office and expressed their serious concerns at the unnecessary delay.

According to the minutes of the meeting of the purchase committee, the company shall provide the “budget stents” each at Rs30,300 following the specifications; I diameter from 2.25mm to 2.75mm and length up to 30mm or more II diameter 3mm to 4mm and length upto 38mm. For Bare Metal Stent (BMS), the company shall provide the device having a diameter of 2.25mm to 4mm and up to 28mm or more length.

The committee also finalised rates for other life-saving medical equipment, including heart valves and oxygenators – the medical device that is capable of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood of a patient during surgical procedures.

The price of these devices varied from Rs44,577 to Rs98,950 depending on the specifications and models.

Out of the 19,000 stents, 11,000 will be made available through central procurement while the remaining by the cardiac institutions individually.

Out of the 11,000 drug eluting stents (DES) 2,500 will be provided to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), 2,200 to the Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology, 3,000 to Chaudhry Pervez Elahi Institute of Cardiology, Multan, 1,200 to Bahawal Victoria Hospital, 1,100 to the Mayo Hospital Lahore, 400 to the Jinnah Hospital Lahore and 100 DES will be provided to the Shaikh Zayed Hospital Lahore.

According to the Central Purchase Committee, the government will also procure for the 11 public sector cardiac institutions for financial year 2018-19, 113 oxygenators for neonatal cases, 372 for infants, 757 for pediatric care, 940 for small adults, 8,220 for adults, besides 1,690 mitral valves, and 1,170 aortic valves.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019