Substandard cardiac drugs claim over 100 lives in Pakistan

Substandard cardiac drugs claim over 100 lives in Pakistan
# 20 February 2012 18:00 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Over 100 heart patients have been killed and 450 others were admitted to hospitals due to the adverse reaction of cardiac drugs in eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Friday, local media reported, APA reports quoting Xinhua.
According to the report, during the last week of December last year, cardiac doctors of a public hospital in Lahore prescribed a combination of four medicines from the hospital’s pharmacy to over 40,000 patients suffering from heart disease.
After taking the drugs, over 450 people were shifted to different hospitals in Lahore and an estimated 106 patients died till Friday, while 2,000 cardiac patients who have already used the possibly spurious drug are at risk.
Most of the patients were admitted to Jinnah Hospital and Mayo hospital Lahore after the reaction of the medicine. According to hospital sources, the patients’ drug reaction is marked by rapid depletion of bone marrow, white blood cells and platelets which resulted in vomiting blood and acute lethargy.
The doctors said that all the patients belong to low-income group that get free drugs from pharmacy of the state-run hospital of cardiology every month. But the batch of medicine which was delivered to the hospital’s pharmacy in December last year was substandard.
The doctors did not understand the nature and complications of the disease at first and suggested their patients to continue to have the heart drug which resulted in the killing of a large number of cardiac patients.
According to initial investigations by a team of doctors formed by Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to probe the incident of suspected drugs reaction, one of the medicines had spots on it and the hospital distributed it to its cardiac patients without getting it analyzed from the Drug Testing Laboratory.
The samples of the contaminated medicines would be sent to Singapore, Brussels and France for tests, as there is not any laboratory in Pakistan that could carry out relevant tests on the contaminated medicines.
On the directives of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, an investigative team from Federal Investigation Authority (F.I.A) launched a crackdown against the suspected pharmaceutical companies, during their visits, the drug inspectors alleged that these firms were not following prescribed rules and regulations and drugs were manufactured in unhygienic conditions.
They sealed three pharmaceutical companies and arrested their owners on the charges of providing contaminated drugs to the hospital.
The F.I.A. presented the owners in Lahore High Court on Tuesday where the judicial magistrate granted their three-day physical remand to bring out the facts. On Friday the court extended their remand to another five days.