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Monday, 24 June 2013

Central Medical Services Society to start operations from July this year

The Central Medical Services Society (CMSS), established by the Union health ministry in March last year to streamline the drug procurement and distribution system of the department of health and family welfare, will eventually become operational from July this year.
Senior officials in the Union health ministry said that the recruitment process for appointing the staff, including senior positions like that of director general and general manager of CMSS, is underway and a full-fledged staff structure will be in place by July this year. Besides, the ministry has already identified the office for the CMSS headquarters and the same is being renovated. “Everything will be in place by July and the real procurement process will start by August this year,” a senior official said.
He further said that the ministry is going ahead of time as far as operationalising of CMSS is concerned as the ministry had earlier set a target of December this year to begin operations of the CMSS.
Once in place, the CMSS will function as an independent, professional and autonomous agency for purchasing all medicines, vaccines, contraceptives and medical equipments for all the government's disease control programmes.
The CMSS will be responsible for procuring health sector goods in a transparent and cost-effective manner and distributing them to the state/UT governments by setting up IT enabled supply chain infrastructure including state warehouses in 50 locations spread across the country. This central procurement agency of ministry of health and family welfare will be doing all the drug procurement now being done by the dept of family welfare.
At present, the health ministry is procuring drugs, vaccines, contraceptives and medical equipments departmentally and through procurement agents for its various disease control programmes. However, certain deficiencies, such as inadequate professional procurement expertise, absence of supply chain management system, manual collection of data and absence of any credible Management Information System (MIS) have been adversely affecting the procurement system.
The ministry thought of setting up a central procurement agency like CMSS as senior officials in the ministry felt that a professional, autonomous and efficient organisation like CMSS is needed to eliminate the existing deficiencies and streamline the drug procurement and distribution system in the country.
There is a feeling among the senior officials that the establishment of CMSS will enable the union health ministry to efficiently procure and properly distribute quality medicines, vaccines, contraceptives and medical equipments to the state/Union Territory governments and also eliminate shortages and wastages, resulting in considerable savings to the government.


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