KARACHI - Eighteen hospitals and around 175 dispensaries under Karachi Metropolitan Corporation are facing shortages of medicine forcing underprivileged patients to purchase expensive medicines from private drug stores.

Officials of KMC Health Department on condition anonymity told that there was an acute shortage of medicines in healthcare centers, hospitals, maternity homes and dispensaries due to the lack of funds.

The admitted and visiting OPD patients have been asked to buy prescribed medicines from private stores while the supply of meals to admitted patients has also been suspended in healthcare centers.

An official said that over a dozen healthcare centers being run by KMC including Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Karachi Institute of Hearth Diseases, Rafiq Shaheed Hospital, Sobhraj Maternity Hospital and Spenser Eye Hospital in different parts of city are facing acute shortages due to non-release of budget so far.

Patients were being asked by doctors to buy medicines, drips and syringes from private medical stores due to non availability in hospital pharmacies. Contractors have also suspended meals to patients in healthcare centers over non-clearance of bills. He said the KMC high-ups were fully aware but do not have funds to buy medicines.

Director Health KMC Salma Kausar told that the shortage has occurred due to new tender process, adding that the process will be completed within ten days. She believed that the shortage of medicines will end in next twenty days. However, she claimed that OPDs and emergency centers of hospitals did not face any shortage of medicines.