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Dhaka Tribune

Medical device registration guideline on the cards

Update : 23 May 2014, 09:06 PM

The drug administration has taken the initiative to formulate a guideline for registering all medical devices, in a bid to stop the rampant corruption in the procurement of unnecessary, yet expensive, medical equipments throughout the country’s health facilities.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) recently formed a 15-member committee, headed by DGDA DG Maj Gen Md Jahangir Hossain Mollick, to prepare the guideline for the import, sales and use of medical devices.

DGDA Deputy Director Nayar Sultana, also a member secretary of the committee, told the Dhaka Tribune that in the first committee meeting on April 28, six sub-committees of health specialists were formed to prepare a list of the most useful medical equipments and their competitive market prices.

Three to five specialists were included in each of the six sub-committees, which would prepare lists for the fields of orthopaedics and plastic surgery, dentistry, eye and ENT, urology-gynaecology and obstetric, cardiovascular and miscellaneous (pathology, radiology, surgery and laboratory).

Nayar also expressed hopes that the DGDA committee would be able to introduce the guideline within the next six months.

However, several senior officials of the DGDA, on condition of anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that it would be very tough to formulate a medical device registration guideline, as influential businesspeople and renowned doctors were involved in the corrupt practices of trading substandard and unnecessary products for high prices.

Many doctors reportedly refused requests from the DGDA to be included in the sub-committees.

When asked why medical devices had varying prices, drug administration DG Mollick said the guideline would help fix prices and categorise all medical devices.

Dr Rashid-e-Mahbub, president of Health Rights Movement Bangladesh, told the Dhaka Tribune that a regulatory body was essential in ensuring the quality of all sorts of medical devices; otherwise the equipments could cause of the deaths of patients.

According to the health directorate, the country has over 8,000 registered hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres, as well as a countless number of unregistered institutes. All of these purchase and use hundreds of different kinds of medical devices without any monitoring or supervision by a regulatory body of the government.

Doctors and hospital administrators, in cahoots with unscrupulous businesspeople, reportedly purchase many sophisticated and expensive machines that gather dust over the years, as the facilities either do not have any purpose for the devices or do not have enough trained manpower to operate the equipment.

Traders of medical devices import their machines from different countries including China and India, before fixing the product prices at their will in the absence of any regulatory guideline.

Substandard products are often sold to both public and private hospitals, with unscrupulous doctors turning a blind eye to the practice in exchange of cash or favours.

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