LAHORE - Paramedical staff is performing the duties of qualified doctors unlawfully at free dispensaries of the City District Government Lahore, established especially for the downtrodden segment of society and are contributing various diseases among the patients, sources informed TheNation on Friday. Supply and distribution of substandard and health hazardous medicines at these dispensaries are spreading some dangerous diseases among the patients. The sources said no multinational pharmaceutical company is on the panel of Health Department and there is no criterion about purchasing the medicines particularly for these free dispensaries. High ups of the Health Department are registering substandard pharmaceutical companies against the share out of profit of these pharmaceuticals instead of registering multinational companies, producing quality medicines, they added. The sources further informed that the qualified doctors are showing their disinterest towards these free dispensaries and often remain absent from their duties. The qualified doctors used to sit in these dispensaries once in a week, sources added. These doctors always prefer their private clinics over these free dispensaries for increasing their income despite the fact they are governments servants and are withdrawing their salaries from government exchequer while they are performing their duties at some other places, the sources added. However, in the absence of the qualified doctors, paramedical staff has to act as a doctor and they deal with the patients who came there for medical check up, the sources said, adding that the, para-medics are though considered qualified staff but not authorised to prescribe medicine for the patients, which is a threat to the life of patient. Besides involving in such illegal practice of recommending medicine for patients, the para-medics staff also takes advantage of the absence of doctors, usually replace medicines, provided by the Health Department with the substandard and low-quality cheap medicines just for minting money and ignoring the health of patients. The sources further said that besides these quacks, employee of the Health Department are also involved in misappropriations in the purchase of drugs and are supplying low-quality medicines to these free dispensaries without any check. In this regard, District Officer Public Health Dr Shabbir Ahmed while talking to TheNation said that so far the purchase and quality of medicines is concerned, it is the duty of the provincial government and the Health Department to ensure provision of quality medicines for the free dispensaries. He said government has allocated only Rs8 million per annum for the purchase of medicines and other medical instruments for these free dispensaries. He said according to policy, provincial government is bound to purchase the medicines of such companies in contract with it only. However, CDG authorities supply the medicines to the free dispensaries after approval of Drug Testing Laboratory (DTS) of CDG. He said more than 100 free dispensaries are functioning in the various areas of the City, while the number of such dispensaries would increase when the Homeopathic and Herbal clinics included and qualified doctors including allopathic, homeopathic doctors and hakeems, providing herbal medicines to the patients are available at all these free dispensaries.