Vol.5, No.1, 8-13 (2013) Health
Inventory control techniques in medical stores of a
tertiary care neuropsychiatry hospital in Delhi
Sarbjeet Khurana1, Neelam Chhillar2, Vinod Kumar Singh Gautam3
1Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Scien ces, Delhi, India; sarbjeetkh@gmail.com
2Department of Neurochemistry, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences, Delhi, India; nlmchhillar@yahoo.co.in
3Department of Neurosurgery, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Scien ces, Delhi, India; drvksg@rediffmail.co.in
Received 22 December 2011; revised 28 January 2013; accepted 1 February 2013
Approximately 35.0% of annual hospitals budget
is spent on buying materials and supplies, in-
cluding medicines. We can bring about substan-
tial improvement in the hospital inventory and
expenditures by the inventory control techniques.
Objective: To identify the categories of drugs
which need stringent management control. Ma-
terial and Method: The ABC and VED analysis of
the medical store of a Neuropsychiatry hospital
at Delhi, India was conducted for the year 2008-
2009 to identify the categories of items needing
stringent management control. Results: The to-
tal number of the drugs at the medical store was
145 drugs. The total annual drug expenditure
(ADE) on these drug items was Rs. 19219594.79.
ABC analysis revealed 3.45%, 6.9% and 89.65%
items as A, B and C category items, respectiv ely,
accounting for 70.5%, 19.68% and 9.83% of ADE
of the medical store. VED analysis showed
32.41%, 61.38% and 6.2% items as V, E, and D
category items, respectively, accounting for
70.9%, 28.72% and 0.38% of ADE of the medical
store. On ABC-VED matrix analysis, 33.8%, 60%
and 6.2% items were found to be Category I, II
and III items, respectively, accounting for 92.33%,
7.29% and 0.38% of ADE of the medical store.
Conclusion: It is sugg ested by the study that the
management of Category I drugs should be done
by the top management resulting in stringent
control on the annual expenses. The Category II
should be managed by the middle management
level and Category III at lower managerial level.
Keyw ords: ABC; VED Analysis; Inventory
Control; Inventory Management
Approximately 35.0% of annual hospitals budget is
spent on buying materials and supplies, including medi-
cines [1]. This requires effective and efficient manage-
ment of the medical stores. Efficient priority setting, de-
cision making in purchase and distribution of specific
drugs, close supervision on drugs belonging to important
categories, and prevention of pilferage depend on the
drug and inventory management.
Quality of care in tertiary care hospitals is also sensi-
tive to the timely availability of facilities in cluding drugs.
Huge budget and key element in the provision of care
make drugs as an important component of hospital care.
The medical store is one of the most extensively used
facilities of the hospital and on e of the few areas where a
large amount of money is spent on purchases on a recur-
ring basis. This emphasizes the need for planning, de-
signing and organizing the medical stores in a manner
that results in efficient clinical and administrative ser-
vices [2]. The goal of the hospital supply system is to
ensure that there is adequate stock of the required items
so that an uninterrupted supply of all essential items is
maintained. A study conducted by the Department of
Personnel and Administrative Reforms in India has re-
vealed that not only does the quantity of medicines re-
ceived fall short of the requirement but also the su pply is
often erratic. Even common medicines are out of stock
and remain so for a considerable period [3]. Of the vari-
ous explanations for non-availability of even simple
medicines in the third world countries, a large number
are related to materials management. A study from a
1500-bedded state-funded hospital has claimed that re-
view and control measures for expensive drugs brought
about 20% savings [4].
Drug inventory management aims at cost containment
and improved efficiency [5]. Inventory control is very
essential in a developing coun try like India [6]. India is a
country of scarce resources and it is the primary respon-
sibility of each hospital to ensure optimum utilization of
available resources to provide good service or quality
patient care. Usually, the hospital management is faced
with choosing the alternative of eith er lowering the qual-
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S. Khurana et al. / Health 5 (2013) 8-13 9
ity of care or adopting ways and means to reduce the cost
of inventories. Therefore, the need of the hour is that we
follow the principles of rational drug use and inventory
management techniques so that in the existing budget we
can cater to more number of patients.
It is essential that health managers use scientific meth-
ods to maximize their returns from investment at a mini-
mal cost [6-9]. Inventory analysis seeks to achieve maxi-
mal output with minimal investment input, based on the
economic principle of stretching the limited means to
meet unlimited ends. Each item may be considered criti-
cal and there is a perceived need to supply very high lev-
els of service [10].
There is no denying that stocking hospital pharmaceu-
ticals and supplies can be expensive and tie up a lot of
capital, and bringing efficiencies to such important cost
drivers—often 30% - 40% of a hospital’s budget—can
present meaningful savings [11]. Thus, a hospital materi-
als manager must establish efficient inventory system
policies for normal operating conditions that also ensure
the hospital’s ability to meet emergency demand condi-
tions [12]. The study of use pattern helps in designing
appropriate corrective measures. ABC analysis is an im-
portant tool used worldwide, identifying items that need
greater attention for control [6-9,13]. The limitation of
ABC analysis is that it is based only on monetary value
and rate of consumption of the items. Sometimes, par-
ticularly in a hospital an item o f low monetary value and
consumption may be very vital or even life saving. Their
importance cannot be overlooked simply because they do
not appear in category A of inventory. Therefore, another
parameter of the materials is their criticality. This could
be in item of the therapeutic value of a drug or intrinsic
value of the material in achieving the objectives of the
hospital system.
We undertook this analysis of inventory control of
drugs to identify areas for further improvement as well as
to find corrective in terventions to achieve this end resu lt,
we did the analysis of inventory control of drugs of the
tertiary care Hospital providing the Neuropsychiatric care
in Delhi, India for the last completed financial year,
We attempted to narrow down the areas, where man-
agement supervision and control measures are needed for
optimal utilization of the available resources.
General objective:
To identify the categories of drugs which need strin-
gent management control.
Specific objectives of this study were to:
To analyze the annual consumption of items of medi-
cal store and expenditure incurred on them for the
year 2008-2009;
To evolve a priority system based on ABC and VED
and ABC-VED matrix analysis;
To identify the item categories requiring greater su-
pervisory monitor ing.
The study was conducted at one of the largest super
specialties tertiary care centers in Delhi, dedicated exclu-
sively to neuropsychiatric and behavioral illnesses. It is
an apex tertiary care institution of psychiatry, neurology
and behavioral sciences utilizing a multidisciplinary ap-
proach. The data of annual consumption and expenditure
incurred on each item of the medical store for the finan-
cial year 2008-2009 were collected and then transcribed
and analyzed in MS Excel.
3.1. ABC Analysis
The annual consumption of all the drugs was calcu-
lated after multiplying unit cost by annual consumption
and the resulting annual expenditure of individual items
was arranged in descending order. Next step was to cal-
culate the items cumulative cost of all the items, as well
as the cumulative percentage of expenditure and the cu-
mulative percentage of number of items. The drugs were
then classified into three categories: A, B and C, based
on the cumulative cost percentage of 70%, 20% and 10%,
3.2. VED Analysis
Criticality analysis of all the d rugs in th e medical stor e
was conducted and then these drugs were classified bas ed
into three group s. Those drugs which are critical ly ne ed ed
as the life saving drugs and those that must be available
at all times were included in the V category. The items
having lesser criticality needs as well as those that may
be available in the ho spital were included in the E group.
The items with lowest criticality, or those whose short-
age may not pose a threat to the health of the patients,
were included in the D group.
3.3. ABC-VED Matrix Analysis
The data was coupled into an ABC-VED matrix by
cross-tabulating the ABC and VED analysis. This re-
sulted in categorization of drugs into (I, II and III).
Category I comprised of items belonging to AV, AE, AD,
BV and CV subcategories. The BE, CE and BD sub-
categories were included in categor y II, and the category
III was represented by items in the CD subcategory. The
first alphabet of these subcategories represent its po sition
in the ABC analysis, whereas the second alphabet repre-
sents its place in the VED analysis.
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S. Khurana et al. / Health 5 (2013) 8-13
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
matrix yields nine different subcategories (AV, AE, AD,
BV, BE, BD, CV, CE and CD) and further these subcate-
gories were cou pled into three main categori es, ca teg or ie s
I, II and III.
The term stringent control is defined as the control by
the top management of the hospital.
The present study was conducted at the medical store
of IHBAS, Delhi (a 314 bed tertiary care health institute
catering to the major portion of northern India), to iden-
tify the categories of drugs needing strict management
There were 49 (33.8%) items in category I, 87 (60%)
items in category II and 9 (6.2%) items in category III,
amounting for 92.33% (Rs. 17745451.14), 7.29% (Rs.
1401109.19) and 0.38% (Rs. 73034.46) of annual drug
expenditure of the medical store, respectively Table 1
and Figure 3.
The drug formulary of the hospital comprises of 145
items. The total annual expenditure of the medicines in
2008-2009 was Rs.19219594.79.
4.1. ABC Analysis
ABC analysis revealed that, 3.45% (5), 6.9% (10) and
89.65% (130) items represented A, B and C category
items, respectively, amounting for 70.5% (Rs.
13548757.56), 1 9.68% (Rs. 3782145.79 ) and 9.83% (Rs.
1888691.44) of annual drug expenditure of the medical
stores Table 1 and Figure 1.
In the healthcare delivery system the hospitals are dy-
namic institutions and spend their major portion of b udg et
for material/logistics which rank second only to the em-
ployees’ salaries. The entire system and sub-system of
the hospital are dependent on the materials and without
materials availability the patient care function of the
hospital can come to stand still. Hence it is of great im-
portance that materials of right quality are supplied to all
users in right quantity at the right time and place. Inven-
tory is one of the methods, which helps in achieving this
goal. The inventory control is one of the important ele-
ments in materials management and an effective measure
for containing cost of materials. Hence the control of the
inventory is essential for efficient and effective supply
management, which is vital to the patient care function
Table 2 shows the cumulative annual expenditure in
percentages (according to various classifications i.e. ABC,
VED and Category I, II and III) vary with the cumulative
percentage of items. Based on these findings cumulative
curves were made to depict the relationship for all the
three classifications used, i.e. ABC, VED and ABC-VED
matrix outputs namely Category I, II and III.
4.2. VED Analysis
About 32.41% (47), 61.38% (89) and 6.2% (9) items
were found to be V, E and D category items, respectively,
amounting for 70.9% (Rs. 13626692.14), 28.72% (Rs.
5519867.40) and 0.38% (Rs. 73034.46) of annual drug
expenditure of the medical store Table 1 and Figure 2. The aim of the hospitals is to make medical services
available timely and continuously. The regular availabil-
ity of drugs is the topmost priority for any hospital. In
case of drugs, we cannot achieve this aim by focusing
only on one factor, whether cost or criticality. When we
4.3. ABC-VED Matrix Analysis
ABC-VED matrix analysis is depicted in Table 3. This
Table 1. The ABC, VED analysis and ABC-VED matrix of the Medical store of IHBAS.
Category No. of Items % of Items Annual drug expenditure % Annual drug expenditure of the medical store
A 05 3.45% 13548757.56 70.5%
B 10 6.9% 3782145.79 19.68%
C 130 89.65% 1888691.44 9.83%
V 47 32.41% 13626692 70.9%
E 89 61.38% 5519867 28.72%
D 09 6.2% 73034 0.38%
Category I 49 33.8% 17745451.14 92.33%
Category II 87 60% 1401109.19 7.29%
Category III 09 6.2% 73034.46 0.38%
S. Khurana et al. / Health 5 (2013) 8-13 11
Expon. (Y-Values)
Figure 1. ABC analysis cumulative curve.
Table 2. The cumulative % of items and cumulative annual
expenditure % for various categories of the drugs of Medical
store of IHBAS.
Cumulative % of items Cumulative expenditure %
A 3.45% 70.9%
B 10.35% 90.18%
C 100% 100%
V 32.41% 70.9%
E 93.79% 99.62%
D 100% 100%
I 33.1% 92.33%
II 93.8% 99.62%
III 100% 100%
Expon. (Y-Values)
Figure 2. VED analysis cumulative curve.
Table 3. ABC-VED matrix analysis.
Category V E D
A 03 02 0
B 09 01 0
C 35 86 09
Expon. (Series1)
Figure 3. ABC-VED matrix cumulative curve.
focus on cost only, we might miss those which are less
costly but vital. If we focus on both i.e. cost and critical-
ity, we would be able to monitor the inventory better and
avoid any situations of drug less periods. We have tried
to substantiate this hypothesis by our study, where about
3.45% of the drugs consumed about 70% of ADE of the
medical stores. This is the group requiring greater moni-
toring as it has fewer drugs consuming most of the money.
But focusing on these drugs left us on missing the vital
and essential drugs from B and C categories. On catego-
rization of drugs by the ABC-VED matrix model, we
were able to narrow down on drugs requiring stringent
5.1. ABC Analysis
The results of the present study showed th at if we con-
sider the ABC analysis alone for inventory management,
it would help to effectively control 5 (3.45%) items in
the A category, which represent almost 70% of annual
drug expenditure of the medical store, but in our aim of
focusing on these items we would compromise on the
availability of items of vital nature from B and C catego-
ries (44 items, 30.3%). The results of the study are com-
parable with similar studies conducted in India [5,15-
5.2. VED Analysis
The results of the present study revealed that if we
consider VED analysis alone then we can effectively
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S. Khurana et al. / Health 5 (2013) 8-13
control the vital and/or essential items, accounting for
99.62% of annual drug expenditure of the medical store.
Review of literature suggests that various other studies
on the similar issue in our country show diverse results
in the percentages of vital, essential and desirable items
Table 4 [5,15-18]. The reason of these varied results
could be due to the different status of the hospitals agen-
cies in terms of the specialties and super-specialties they
cater to.
5.3. ABC-VED Matrix Analysis
It is quite evident fro m the results of the pr esent study
that the combination of ABC and VED analysis, in terms
of the ABC matrix enhances the ability to narrow down
our attention on 49 (33.8%) items belonging to category
I for strict managerial control; these items are either
costly or vital. The annual expenditure of category I
items was 92.33% of annual drug expenditure of the
medical store. This category if further divided into 2
subgroups—subgroup I comprises of AV, AE and BV and
there are total 18 items (12.4%) that are expensive
(91.1% of ADE). It is difficult to manage the medical
services if these drugs are out of stock because they are
either vital or essential. Further it is very important to
prevent the locking up of capital due to these costly
items, hence we need to maintain low buffer stock for
these items as well as keep a strict vigil on the consump-
tion level and the stock in hand. A two-bin method of
ordering needs to be ensured for these as this will elimi-
nate the risk of item shortage. The drugs belonging to CV
(31%, 21.4%) are drugs of low cost but high criticality
and take up 1 .23% of ADE of the medical store. As they
are representing very small percentage of the total ex-
penditure hence they can be procured once a year and
can be stocked as their carrying cost is low.
Category II items (87%, 60%) represent 7.29% of the
ADE. These items can be ordered once or twice a year,
thereby saving on ordering cost and reducing manage-
ment hassles at a moderate carrying cost and without
blocking substantial capital. Category III items (9%, 6 .2% )
consume 0.38% of the ADE. These items can also be
ordered once a year and hence save on ordering cost. The
result of the present study in comparison with similar
studies in India is shown in Table 4 [5,15-18].
Various studies done in our country are depicted in this
table, and there are some salient observations: In contrast
to various studies done on the similar topic in our coun-
try where the range of A class of drugs varies from
10.76% to 17.8%, in our study the group A drugs are
only 3.45%, i.e. only 5 drugs. Similar are the findings for
B and C group drugs in our study which are in markedly
different percentages as compared to the earlier studies.
In our present study the percentage of vital drugs was
32.41%, and essential drugs were 61.38%. If we compare
these findings with other studies the percentage of vital
drugs range from 5.41% - 23.76% whereas the percent-
age of essential drugs range from 38.12% - 59.9%.The
percentage of the desirable drugs is quite less in our
study (only 6.2%) in comparison to the various other
studies done in our country (range is 28.51% - 43.38%).
On developing the ABC-VED coupling matrix, the
percentages of category I, II does not differ from existing
studies too much, but category III shows marked differ-
ences from the other studies. These differences could be
because of the nature of the inventory being quite differ-
ent in our setup as compared to the general tertiary care
hospitals. There is a paucity of studies in the super-spe-
cialty hospitals; therefore there is no way we could com-
pare our results with the same.
During the year 2008-2009, the inventory expenditure
of the medical store of a tertiary care neuropsychiatric
hospital at Delhi was Rs. 19219594.79. There is a need
of application of scientific inventory management tools
for effective and efficient management of the medical
stores and close supervision on items belonging to im-
portant categories. ABC-VED matrix analysis identifies
the drugs requiring stringent control for optimal use of
funds and avoid out-of-stock situations in the medical
Table 4. Comparison of various Indian studies with the present study.
Category Govt Hospital Nagpur study AFMS studyCGHS studyGMCH, Goa studyPGI Chandigarh study Present study
A 10.76 14.46 17.8 12.93 13.78 3.45
B 20.63 22.46 22.6 19.54 21.85 6.9
C 68.61 63.08 59.5 67.53 64.37 89.65
V 23.76 7.39 5.14 12.36 12.11 32.41
E 38.12 49.23 58.9 47.12 59.38 61.38
D 38.12 43.38 35.9 40.52 28.51 6.2
I 29.15 20.92 21.5 22.99 22.09 33.8
II 41.26 48.92 56.1 41.67 54.63 60
III 29.59 30.16 22.2 35.34 23.28 6.2
*All the values in this table are in percentages. The table has been adopted from Devnani et al, J Young Pharmacists 2010 with permission from the author and
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
S. Khurana et al. / Health 5 (2013) 8-13 13
Category 1: Needs close monitoring & stringent
control by top management.
Category 2: Moderate control by the middle level
Category 3: Control at the lower managerial level.
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