BAHALWALPUR: Investigations have revealed that fake medicines worth Rs20,000,000 have been sold from a medical store in the district over the past year.
On Friday, Haji Attaur Rehman filed an application against Rehman Medical Store owner, Chaudhry Muhammad Azam, with the Bahawalpur Police. The complainant, Rehman said that he had been administered an injection that he purchased from the store and fell unconscious for eight days. “I went into a coma. When I came to after eight days I registered the case immediately,” he said.
The Bahawalpur executive district officer (EDO-health) Omar Javed has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
According to health officials, several patients have filed complaints against different medicine stores in the district. Patients complained about being sold fake injections as well as antibiotics. “I bought a Maxipime injection which costs Rs1,000 and a Rs800 Meronem injection a few months ago. I know the injection was a fake because I immediately began vomiting. I also had a skin allergy as a result” said a patient, Altaf.
According to Javed, laboratory reports have confirmed that many of the antibiotics and injections sold at private chemist shops are substandard. “Some of the medicines have no antibiotic content in the mixture. They are just placebos, being used to fleece customers,” the EDO said.
The EDO has also called in the manufacturers of medicine companies such as ICI and Squibb for questioning. “We need to determine how much of the stock of these medicines is not up to the required standard. Otherwise we will ban the label,” he said.
Rehman Medical Store owner, Chaudhry Muhammad Azam’s, store was raided by Health Department Inspector Naveed Aslam on the EDO’s instructions. “We found fake medicines worth over Rs3 million but the man has escaped,” Aslam said.
Health Department officials said that according to many of the patients, Victoria Hospital dialysis centre in-charge, Dr Farooq Mustafa, and assistant professor, Dr Mazhar Faiz Aalam, had always recommended their patients to get all their medication from Rehman Medical Store.
“Many doctors get a cut of the profit from both pharmaceutical companies as well as medical stores. These two doctors specifically told customers that they couldn’t find their medicine anywhere else,” Aslam said.
While talking about the inquiry against the two doctors MS Victoria hospital Bahawalpur officials told The Express Tribune that a inquiry has been ordered against both doctors and they had been suspended from service.
Health Department officials have sent over 100 samples of medicines to the Punjab Quality Control Department for results. “If all the medicines are found to be of poor quality then we will launch an inquiry at the provincial level,” Javed said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2011.