Free medicines scam: As 32 die, FIA arrests owners of pharmaceutical companies

Names of four drugs have been made public on the official website of Punjab health department.

Asad Kharal/our Correspondent January 23, 2012

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency has arrested the owners of pharmaceutical factories involved in selling contaminated medicines that have so far killed 32 people.

FIRs have also been registered against them on directions of Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The companies that supplied the medicines include Alfalah Pharma (Pvt) Limited, Mega Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd and Pharmawise Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd.

Meanwhile, names of four drugs have been made public on the official website of Punjab health department and practitioners have been directed not to prescribe them.

The names include Cardiovestin (Simvastatin), Alfagril (Clopidogrel), Concort (Amlodipine) and Soloprin (Asprin). The medicines, consultants have been told, must not be prescribed until a probe into the matter is concluded.

The Federal Inspectors of Drugs and an FIA team have also visited the PIC for examining the medicines and other records and recording statements of PIC officials as well as of the victims’ relatives.

SHO put on notice
A district and sessions court has put Shadman SHO on notice in a petition seeking registration of a case against hospital workers who purchased substandard medicines that have so far killed 32 people.

Hearing the petition on Monday, Additional District and Sessions Judge Arif Hameed Shaikh directed the SHO to submit a reply by January 27. The petition seeks the registration of an FIR against the medical superintendent of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and the Punjab health secretary for their alleged involvement in purchasing the medicines which were later handed out to patients for free.

Petitioner Ahmed Raza contended in his petition that on January 21 he approached Shadman Police to register a case against the accused but the SHO refused. He implored the court that the management of PIC and its MS, in connivance with the health secretary, purchased substandard medicines which caused the deaths of 32 people, including the petitioner’s cousin Kareem Sultan. He prayed that the court direct the respondent to register a case against the accused.

Petition in LHC

Meanwhile, a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court for a judicial inquiry into the deaths.

The petition, filed by Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, states that over two dozen patients have died while dozens are in critical condition because of medicines provided by the PIC. The petition calls it a case of sheer negligence on part of the PIC administration for which they should be taken to the task.

He stated that the supply of adulterated or spurious drugs is playing havoc with lives of innocent citizens and the federal and provincial health departments have failed to act against those responsible. He said that a thorough investigation is needed into the matter so that responsibility can be affixed. He further said that the license of the responsible pharmaceutical companies should also be cancelled. He has requested that the court constitutes a judicial commission.

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Ehsan | 9 years ago | Reply

it is pakistan, nothing will happen except TV discussions. Case will be closed in three months.

khabar | 9 years ago | Reply

@Dr mohammed hussain Naqvi:actually FIR is needed against PM because licenses to such companies are issued by ministry of health which is under controll of real culprit is federal govt not the provincial one.

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