Drug procurement, storage and control of the various classes and their inventory or stock control are very important in hospital Pharmacy. Drugs are acquired in the various hospitals, urban health centres and clinics by sending requisitions to drug depot, the Central Medical Stores or the Regional Stores in various regional capitals. However, a few big hospitals, the Private and Mission ones do procure some of their drugs by directly purchasing from the drug houses using Local Purchase Orders (L.P.O).
The method for drug requisitioning in the government medical stores is not satisfactory and causes too much delay. Let us examine a requisition from Korle-Bu Hospital, for example, to the Central Medical stores at Tema. The Pharmacist in charge of the Hospital’s Medical Stores prepares the requisition which is thoroughly vetted and signed by the Principal Pharmacist. It is then sent to the hospital administrator for his approval and then to the Ministry of Health and further endorsement by the Chief Pharmacist or his representative. From there, it goes to the stores Superintendent at the Central Medical Stores and he finally endorses it before at long last it reaches the Pharmacists responsible for the various sections of the Stores for the supplies to be made. The procedure in the smaller hospitals and Polyclinics is very similar except that the requisition goes finally to the Regional Stores and not to the Central Medical Stores.
I feel this lengthy procedure needs some remedy. Let us examine some of the causes of the delay with requisitioning and some suggestions which could eliminate the delay. The officers responsible in signing of the requisitions are too many and this leads to bureaucratic bottleneck. Most of our record books and other stationary papers in use now are the same as those used 15-30 years ago. Unfortunately, the scientific world is changing so fast that we cannot just continue using these out-dated materials. It is time the Pharmacy Division of the Ministry of Health changed some of the details in the record books used for requisitions, and stock control. In the Daily Issue and Requisition books, for instance, the column for the Medical Officer in charge could be changed to Senior Pharmacist in charge or the Principal Pharmacist who should take full responsibility in the requisition for drugs. He should check possible errors in the books.
As already mentioned, a lot depends on the Pharmacist too. Some do requisitions without being realistic. Some do not even have any idea as to the average rate at which the various drugs move, e.g. the quantity of antihypertensive, analgesics, antibiotics etc. used daily, weekly or monthly. But we need these data to enable us make realistic requisitions. If correct data on the consumption of drugs are known, problems like ‘artificial’ shortage resulting from hoarding of slow-moving drugs in a particular hospital whilst there could be none available in the other hospitals could be arrested. A hospital Pharmacist needs to keep adequate records to help him plan ahead and manage his department effectively. There is no need requisitioning for 50,000 capsules Tetracycline instead of 20,000 actually needed or 20,000 Acetylsalicylic Acid Tablets instead of 60,000. It must be kept in mind that stocks should not get to “NIL” before a requisition or order is made. Under normal circumstances, the Medical Stores should have all the items needed but quite often, they don’t. In these cases they should be in a position to advise when the requisitioning pharmacist should go back for drugs which are under-supplied. But the Medical Stores themselves also face a dilemma because most often they also run out of many items and do not know when next they are getting fresh stocks of items which were in short supply.
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