LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday withdrew a batch of 200,000 aspirin tablets from the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) after they were found to be contaminated.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Saeed Elahi, while talking to The Express Tribune, confirmed the contamination and called for an immediate withdrawal of the drug from the hospital’s dispensary.
The batch was dispatched to PIC’s dispensary from December 16 to January 12.
Elahi also said that the government had ordered an investigation to find out as to why the medicine was contaminated.
Another spate of panic might start as there is a chance that tablets from this batch might have been sent to other pharmacies in the city.
The fatal medicines have taken 80 lives so far, while the death toll is expected to rise at PIC.
The panic will take some time to subside, as it has emerged that 400-500 patients were given the same medicine at the hospital.
The medicine triggered an unknown disease that is said to get deposited in the bone marrow and ultimately ends the body’s resistance. The generation of white blood cells stops in the body and a severe chest infection also takes place.
The symptoms of the disease include a change in complexion, low platelet count, vomiting blood and a severe chest infection.
FIA raids pharmaceutical company, confiscates raw material
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided the site of one of the pharmaceutical companies which provided medicines to the PIC and confiscated raw material for inspection.
The material seized by the FIA investigating team will be sent to drug testing labs. The material will be compared with that of the samples given by the pharmaceutical company to see if they match or not.
The director of the medicine manufacturer said that the company will extend cooperation and said that he was distressed about the incident.
He said that the material and samples should be evaluated properly and checked if medicines manufactured by his company were behind the deaths.
He claimed that his company was not the only one which provided medicines to the hospital.
The FIA on January 22 arrested the owners of pharmaceutical factories involved in selling contaminated medicines. FIRs were also registered against them on directions of Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
The companies that supplied the medicines include Alfalah Pharma (Pvt) Limited, Mega Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd and Pharmawise Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd.
Contaminated medicines include 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.
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