Efroze Chemical Industries owner says PIC batch contaminated

Published: February 1, 2012
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Contrary to confession, owner says factory shouldn't be closed only for this reason.

Contrary to confession, owner says factory shouldn't be closed only for this reason.

KARACHI: Owner of Efroze Chemical Industries confessed on Wednesday that the batch of IsoTab produced for Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) was tainted with Pyrimethamine, an anti-malarial.

Contrary to his confession, the owner, while speaking to Express News, said that his factory should not be closed down only for this reason as the factory had 35 years of experience in the market and that their drugs were exported to over 20 countries worldwide.

Terming it a “conspiracy” to malign the factory’s name, the owner said that last year in September, some material was stolen from their warehouse and said that it might have been used in adulterating the batch of medicines.

He said that only this particular batch was spurious and that the rest of the medicines produced by the factory did not have any issues.

The owner also said that an FIR will be lodged in this regard.

Earlier today, a team of Federal Investigation Agency along with officials of health department reached the factory.

FIA Deputy Director Akbar Baloch said that the team will go inside the factory to talk to the management and added that media was not allowed to enter the premises at the moment.

Express News’ correspondent Farooq reported that there were chances that the company will be sealed after the discussion between FIA’s team and the management of Efroze Chemical Industries is ended.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association has expressed its shock at the incident. They say that a technical committee has been formed to look into the matter, and that they would be able to issue a statement tomorrow.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • Feb 1, 2012 - 3:41PM

    Conspiracies have become a national sport of our country since 9/11.

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  • son of Soil
    Feb 1, 2012 - 3:41PM

    who’s job was it to inform the public and give add in news papers?
    was any 1 informed ?

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  • Sohail
    Feb 1, 2012 - 3:45PM

    This company exports to so many countries, 1 billion exports. A company in market for more then half the life of Pakistan should not be treated this way. Full investigation should follow to determine the real culprit. Emotional decisions would only be a loss to Pakistan..

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  • Lobster
    Feb 1, 2012 - 4:02PM

    We are talking about hundreds of death and owner wants the factory to remain open? In any other country not only factory will be sealed but the responsible will be in Jail for several years

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  • Akhtar
    Feb 1, 2012 - 4:06PM

    We love conspiracies! But may I ask whether the company has something called quality control department which tests the medicines prior to despatch.

    Well, blame it on conspiracy like everything else which we are really good at. Foreign forces, third dimension, invisible hands, anyone………

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  • Adnan
    Feb 1, 2012 - 4:17PM

    Well i am sure they have lodged an FIR for the ingredients stolen from the factory

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  • BS.Detecter
    Feb 1, 2012 - 4:24PM

    Factory shares atleast 60% of the blame. Why didnt they report when drugs material were stolen? or if there is i would be pleased to see it.

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  • sars
    Feb 1, 2012 - 4:54PM

    hmmm…. stuff stolen from your warehouse is still possibly believable , but how did antimalarials get “into’ your medications, surely that is the reverse of being stolen.

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  • Sajjad Hussain
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:02PM

    The management of Efroze Chemical Industries have confessed that the batch of isotab send to PIC was tainted and spurious. Why was it not checked earlier? Where were the drug inspectors who passed the batch? How did it got contaminate? Are medicines not checked by laboratories?Why did the management not warned the public earlier and why were this drug not removed from the market and hospitals? Why the management want to register FIR now? How come the nitrates were contiminated with anti-malarial pyrimethamine? Who is or are are responsible for the deaths of over 100 patients?.I have been prescribing medicines manufactured by Efroze but never again I request doctors not to prescribe medicines manufactured by such companies so that this may send message to other drug manufacturers that they must be strict on quality control. Furthermore the government must also bear its responsibility.The factory should not only be sealed but assets should be confasicated and the next of kin of the dead patients adequately compensated.Such lapses on part of local drug manufacturers and government officials has brought the country to disrepute.,

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  • It's (still) the economy, stupid
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:08PM

    Is this guy for real? All drugs have to be manufactured as per the cGMP. Batch was stolen from the factory is it self a good enough reason for closing the factory till proper security arrangements are made to secure future batches. No information was released in the media, proactively, to inform public re the stolen batch. Where is the quality control report before releasing the batch from the warehouse. No voluntarily recall notice was issued. Its time for those twenty countries to do the lab test to ensure no contamination and put this company on the watch list and ask for a third party lab results.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:09PM

    The factory should be closed and assets of the Directors be frozen to pay compensation to the victims.

    The owner should realise that he is running a pharmaceutical company and not a “samosa thela”

    Drug manufacturers, l are strictly liable for the results when their products seriously hurt someone.Here deaths have been caused.

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  • AaK
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:16PM

    @Akhtar,,,,,,,,
    I can’t blame foreign forces or anything else for it, this might be very tough to believe on such lines. But INVISIBLE HANDS, great idea yaar, I think Dr. Rehman Malik have to start working on these lines, convincing lines.
    Long Live Pakistan!!!!!!!!!

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  • faizan pervaiz
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:41PM

    Well i am a medical student and visited so many pharmaceutical companies! prior to dispatch any medicine these is a laboratory for detecting any contamination and testings are very highly sensitive and can detect even a slightest contamination! If they find so they discard all the medicines prepared from that raw materiel! How such a highly contaminated medicines came into market this is a big question!!! But what i think any pharmaceutical company cannot be directly involved!! May be these medicines have been intentionally contaminated after being dispatched from that company! But still there must be an investigation team that visit that pharmaceutical company and check any source of contamination whether in raw material or in laboratory!

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  • NidaH
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:59PM

    company should be sealed with immediate effect and the owner should be punished for the deaths caused by the medicine.mixing of antimalarial might have happened due to ,as the owner claims,a conspiracy,but may i humbly question you ….what was your quality control/Assurance team doing?? didn’t they perform the standard testing procedures for finished products if by chance the initial stages of manufacturing were not controlled?.
    I empathize with the employees/labors of the company for sealing the company will render hundreds of them unemployed.
    I hope this serves as an eye opener for all those manufacturers who market sub standard drugs and make millions out of it….you never know who’s next to be caught!

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  • Blithe
    Feb 1, 2012 - 6:15PM

    Raza Rabbani and his illogical 18th
    amendment is to blame for this!!!

    Why should there even have been a debate on
    decentralizing drug regulations?!?!

    This is one country and there needs to be one standard on medication.

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  • kalia
    Feb 1, 2012 - 6:18PM

    i seriously believe company of that scale shouldn’t be closed, thousand of job will be lost. matter should investigated and come to a logical conclusion. it has 35 years of experience.

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  • Sheikh
    Feb 1, 2012 - 6:36PM

    Firstly, the Punjab Goverment should blacklist this company forever, after the confession of the factory owner. Random samples from each batch should have been checked as a standard procedure. Secondly, the investigation team should find out if at the time of production of this particular batch, how many people in the factory knew that batch would go to Punjab. Those people should be focussed upon, and if there was a conspiracy, it will come to light.

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  • Tee
    Feb 1, 2012 - 6:43PM

    35 years of experience and still their Quality department was sleeping? How can one compromise on such vital issues? How could they not check the medicines before the left the facility? The owner is responsible for this slip up!

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  • Daniel
    Feb 1, 2012 - 6:55PM

    Stop with this emotional blackmailing for “earning money for Pakistan”.
    Efroz’s owner wasn’t doing any Ihsaan by running factory for the past 35 years. He was earning piles of money. He should had known there’s a difference between selling cricket bats and life-saving drugs. Even if we accept that someone deliberately attempted to destroy his company, but he should still take responsibility for letting that happen. Is he ready to even give his one year’s income to the families of deceased?

    Talking is easy. Actions take time, energy and money.

    Supplementary: Now suddenly everyone gets reminded of how to provide justice and penalize this drug factory owner? How about first providing justice to our “beloved” leaders .?Recommend

  • Ujala
    Feb 1, 2012 - 7:05PM

    People should not be talking if they do not know much about the factory’s history, it’s owners, etc. Fact remains that it’s being compared to international ways of dealing with things where factories are sealed is clearly blasphemous because we, as judges and outsiders, can not declare anything and/or blame this situation on the carelessness of the factory. If they really were that carelessness, they would not have survived and gotten as far as they have now. If they really were that carelessness, 35 years of success and excellence would not have been possible. 35 YEARS OF SAVING LIVES. Maybe the materials stolen in September really do have something to do with this. Maybe someone tampered with the drugs AFTER they were dispatched from the factory. I understand that ~100 people dying is definitely a HUGE loss, but at the same time, thinking rationally, I don’t think people understand what a grave loss they are welcoming by demanding the shut down of this company. 100 people compared to the countless millions and millions of people whose lives have been saved over the course of 35 years, is that even something that needs to be questioned? The company needs to be given a chance to prove its innocence before people start jumping to conclusions and forming biased opinions. Also, before giving in to what the news has to say (which, if you all have not learned already, is always a “guilty until proven innocent” situation), it would not hurt to actually conduct some quick google research about Efroze Chemicals Ltd., and learn about them and have an opinion of your OWN, rather than one shaped by the media. Think rationally, Pakistan, we really are not making this any easier for our country by demanding the seal of this company.

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  • Ali Tahir
    Feb 1, 2012 - 7:17PM

    Wonder those people will go now who were accusing the Punjab Government for deliberately killing the poor people and doing ‘lashon kee syasat’ yet again!

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  • khan
    Feb 1, 2012 - 7:30PM

    This is most serious matter for the whole nation every thing we have is adulterated and ALLAH (SWT) only know how many people die because adulteration in FOODS, COOKING OIL, MEDISONS, WATER, AIR, PETROLLIUM PRODUCTS, AND QUACK DOCTORS AND CRUPTION in every GOVT DEPT so where we begin and where do we end. The owners of this facility should be brought to task and should be tried for mass murder. And their entire personal assets should be sold to compensate the Victims families. WE MUST MAKE VERY CLEAR TO EVERY ONE THE ADULTERATION WILL BE PUNISHED WITH DEATH SENTENCE.

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  • Muhammad Raees
    Feb 1, 2012 - 7:35PM

    I personally know the Factory very well. They have a well equipped Quality Control Department. But this kind of mishap can be happened and possible any where. On the other hand all the inspectors who are responsible to regulate these companies are masters of bribe. They just do there duties to find how can they make money from these pharmaceuticals. If only our drug inspectors do there duties properly these kind of mishap would stop.

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  • Ujala
    Feb 1, 2012 - 7:43PM

    @Daniel: I’m sorry, sir, but saving other people’s lives IS a huge ihsaan. so what if he was earning piles of money? It’s called making a living. For once, can we put our hatred aside, and take a quick glance at the tremendously commendable deeds that they have accomplished? Have you, personally, even taken a look at their accomplishments over the past 35 years? Also, for all we know, maybe he is willing to give his one year’s income to the families of the deceased. You declared that he’s earning piles of money, I’m sure giving away a year’s worth of that pile will not kill him. If you knew who was running the company and all the charity work that he has done without publicizing to the world about it, I’m sure you would get an answer to your question. Hating on them so casually is not a hard thing to do. To see beyond this situation is a whole new world.

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  • fus
    Feb 1, 2012 - 8:09PM

    This is one of the best if not the best pharma company in Pakistan, with 35 yrs of excellence. No doubt death of 100 people is a great loss, but rather than being emotional, wait and don’t pass the veridect yet, unfortunately it is not something that has happened in Pakistan only, this has happened in other countries also, like USA. The bigger issue is why only the batch that was sent to PIC was contaminated.

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  • Daniel
    Feb 1, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @Ujala:

    That is why I gave the counter argument too. If you read the last para, I clearly mentioned how can you even talk about justice and penalizing the drug company’s owner when our leaders and accusers are much more corrupt and loathsome.

    About Efroze doing charity, I highly appreciate if they did. They must be a well respected name in their field and society as well. But again, they were NOT saving lives by selling drugs. If that is so, then a flour and rice mills, growers of vegetables are all life-savers. Because if we don’t eat then we’ll die. Yet, I totally understand that doctors, paramedical staff or drug producers have a superior level of respect ONLY IF they are doing it on human basis. If a doctor earns millions of rupees per month and rips off 1500~2000 rupees from ever patient for his 5 minutes of time then I’ll call him a businessman than a Messiah.

    I do not wish injustice of emotional attacks on the owner of Efroze especially when drug inspectors needed to be put to death for eating bribery and not doing their very very critical duty of saving medicine from contamination/adulteration.

    Best.

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  • Zeeshan Ahmed
    Feb 1, 2012 - 8:58PM

    Dear All, I am a pharmacist with experience in in Big Multinational companies as well as smaller national ones including clincal trials. In my opinion, this is a complete breakdown of Quality Management System of the company involved. From the procurement of raw material to supply to the PIC ,Quality has failed at every stage; this type of error on such scale can never happen in US or EU. There are reason to this error: I have always found the cleaning validations performed in the local national companies to be of very low standard. The so called ”setths” dont give a monkey on the importance of Quality Assurance. The people in MOH are either incompetent or corrupt with no extensive knowledge about GMP. We need preventative measures in place: start by Implementing the GMP standards described by FDA and EMEA and have stringent Quality Audits (Perhaps by FDA or EMEA Inspectors). India has benifited so much ( through exports) from adopting the FDA and European Quality Standards. We need to overhaul the health care system in Pakistan.

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  • Waqar Hasnain
    Feb 1, 2012 - 8:59PM

    @Blithe: You are absolutely right.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 1, 2012 - 9:22PM

    Never thought before that such a reputable company can make such a blunder?

    More than 100 people have died in Punjab.

    Who is responsible for killing of innocent people?

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  • s_aqua
    Feb 1, 2012 - 9:36PM

    Such type of negligence left a negative impact globally in health alliance.

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  • SH
    Feb 1, 2012 - 9:43PM

    “Pfizer Recalls 1 Million Birth-Control Packs on Wrong Dosage” This is today’s news from Pfizer just on the wrong dosage. Scandal? Conspiracy? Or just quick thinking on the company’s part to accept responsibility and RECALL the bad drugs! Manufacturing for any amount of years whether 1 or 35 does not give anyone an excuse to justify wrong doing. Even one life is precious let alone 100s and saving a million does not justify taking even one! How would they feel if someone they loved had died due to this? Where is the accountability? It does not matter how much ‘charity’ was done by these people. Charity begins at home and just taking responsibilty of their actions is charity for mankind rather than blaming it on scandals. Not to play a blame game and wait till proven innocent is the call here but please don’t give excuses till they are proven innocent.

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  • owais shah
    Feb 1, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Some thing is definitely fishy, how come the drugs got contaminated???????????Recommend

  • Daniel
    Feb 1, 2012 - 10:42PM

    @Ujala:

    Though I already replied to your comment above. I’m still very keen to what you have to say in response to Zeeshan Ahmed’s experience and SH’s comment as well.

    Best.

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  • uet
    Feb 1, 2012 - 10:55PM

    So what efroz was waiting, Shahbaz Sharif run a man to london with manual samples and bring back the results while people keep on dying. Not expected from a pharmaceutical company having sales in 20 countries. Just ban them forever!

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  • Junaid Ali Khan
    Feb 1, 2012 - 11:21PM

    Efroze chemicals is one of the best pharmaceutical which always provide Quality medicine to patients,as a pharma person i know the contribution of Mr Abdullah Feroz for society, number of institute is running free of cost and Efroze is one of the major contributor, And How its possible the Company involve in declining of his Good will.?????

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  • iconoclast
    Feb 1, 2012 - 11:52PM

    I think we hv to take lesson from this ugly episode and from now onwards we as a nation shud have some sort of legislation which wud ensure that;
    1. all drugs will undergo lab test before coming to market
    2. secret inspector teams consisting of experts shud be established who wud raid and pay surprise visit to these manufacturing companies for quality control
    3. international standard labs shud be established in all the big cities of the coutry
    4. the current incident should be properly investigated and the perpeterators shud be punished according to the law to make an example out of them.
    5. all the provinces and the federal govt shud appoint a highly qualified person, preferrably a doctor on the post of health minister.
    6. suprious drugs which according to some sources comprise about 50%of all medicines are in the market. these should be investigated and sealed.
    7. chief minister of Punjab shud decentralize the authority to some able people… you can be a jack of all trade but not the master!!!

    Regards
    A doctor

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  • Khurram
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:33AM

    The owner should be brought to the court. He is responsible for this human tragedy by not following standard protocols in his factory.Recommend

  • Saad Baloch
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:35AM

    Proud of my dad and his team :D

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  • Reality
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:49AM

    Is it difficult to check this huge contamination. After so many days when hundreds of peoples already death, Government is saying this particular medicine is contaminated. why this took so long this is really something for us difficult to understand. Is it falure of Quality Management System or mistake by only one analyst of the company so many people will suffer including the employees of that particular company. This needs proper investigation.

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  • Mirza
    Feb 2, 2012 - 4:06AM

    This sure is going to increase the export of our medicines! I wonder which countries would buy made in Pakistan drugs now?

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  • infested
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:23AM

    @Saad Baloch:
    what has the FIA got to do with this issue anyway?
    and i too am from the pharma industry and this case reeks of corruption and conspiracy from all angles and the company is too well reputed to have knowingly or unknowingly let this happen…

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  • Farhan
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:46AM

    If it was happened in any other country. it would be huge lawsuit against company which could cost company to go bankrupt. We lost over 100 innocent lives here and Mr. Feroz (efroz owner) wants to remain open. Wow Mr. Feroz, you are KILLER you should go to jail which you would not, because you have billions of ruppes in your account which you will use to get away. Govt. should seal everything related to this company or this guy Mr. Feroz.

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  • Someone Blue
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Thank you Pakistan’s Gov’t and their partners YET AGAIN. All the difference between fake degree and real degree is showing its ture colors.

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  • AS
    Feb 2, 2012 - 10:04PM

    this is really the most horrible incident in the history of pharmaceutical world … the adverse effect of the adulterated drug is evident ….
    this is an indicative of some system failures and severe deviation of SOPs during the manufacturing of the drug …. after recieving of raw materials in pharma plant it is sent for testing in QC lab …and after QC release , dispensing starts ….
    apparently it looks some dispensing error … where anti malarial is dispensed at place of any other ingredient of that formulation ….it not possible to identify the wrong ingredient at the stage of manufacturing but behaviour of tablets should have given some indication that there is some wrong with ingredients ….
    Ayways ..this is the worst that could happen at any pharma manufacturers…..
    the FIDs visit to pharma industries is only the way of making money …. our health regulatory agencies should stop making money and start doing their job seriously ….
    because after all its the matter of human lives ….

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  • Concerned
    Feb 3, 2012 - 1:38AM

    Mr. Farhan, before you started pointing fingers at someone did you think about what you can do to solve the problem? I’m sorry, but I think not. Have you done any sort of background research on Mr. Feroz? He is one the few people in Pakistan who does a great amount of philanthropic and charity work. More than you and I combined. Please go and check the website of Burns Center, the ONLY hospital made for burn patients in Pakistan, without the help of the government and politicians. Then you may also want to ask the 600 people working at his factory and ask them what kind of a human being he is. Again, better than you and I. Because if you were in his place and you were innocent he would have fought for you. Not sit in front of his computer and blame you. Once again, you are an epitome of a typical Pakistani. Thank you for being a part of the problem and not part of the solution!

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  • jibran
    Feb 3, 2012 - 10:00AM

    @Lobster:
    In any other country the health minister would take responsibility, the provincial leadership should take responsibility… shahbaz shareef should resign!

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  • Faiza
    Feb 3, 2012 - 7:41PM

    Excuse me, Mr. Farhan, you have absolutely NO right to call Mr. Abdullah Feroz a murderer. Do you know what kind of an accusation you’re making against him? And I am most sorry to say that having “billions of rupees” is not a crime…it’s called earning a living. There isn’t any sort of law that says that people can’t make a living. So it will be highly appreciated that you leave his “bank account” out of this. But then again, since you have already mentioned Mr. Feroz’s bank account let me enlighten you with the fact that Mr. Feroz spends most of his “billions of rupees” on orphans, widows, and the less fortunate. How much of your money do you spend towards these people, Mr. Farhan? I am sure not as much as Mr. Abdullah Feroz. So instead of praying that his factory gets seized and his personal assets get frozen, you should be praying that his innocence gets proven because A LOT of orphans, widows and the less fortunate depend on his “billions of rupees”. They need his “billions of rupees” to fulfill their basic needs which you and I can not fulfill even if we tried! Mr. Farhan, I don’t think you know that if we point one finger at someone then the other 4 fingers are pointing back at us…so PLEASE avoid those 4 fingers pointing at you :) Mr. Feroz is a great man, and I don’t think anyone has the right to make accusations against this great and honest man! Please know the facts before passing any sort of statements. Also, if you had worked for 35 years to build up your company’s name, reputation and goodwill, would you willingly flush it down the proverbial drain? I think NOT. Please consider doing some research before you easily go about slandering and abusing the name of a man who deserves to have his name absolved of this tragedy which has befallen him, instead of foaming at the mouth about a situation which you are clearly not aware of.

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  • Tehreem
    Feb 5, 2012 - 2:03AM

    **We should not forget that Efroze has been one of our proud national assets, contributing millions to our GDP for the past 35 years and has held a clean record. Prudence calls that we should not buy what media and these corrupt ministry people are feeding us and jump to conclusions. Let the Defendant come up with their side of investigation. I completely empathize with the victims but a well established company should not be pushed to close down just because it is a corporate entity and the other side is poor and helpless. Not all giant corporations are vicious as we think of them. Lookat GSK how many a times they have been dragged to courts? But they managed to get out of that because they were powerful.

    And as for some personal first hand research for you guys, just google Mr Mohammed Abdullah Feroze, MD Efroze, and you will know the history of the man behind the company.

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  • U.S
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:46PM

    My question would be when there is no record of receiving that batch and when the company has a different batch No supplied to the hospital how can Punjab Government send a non-registered batch for testing and seal the company on this basis.
    Efroze Pharma has a clean record for the past 35 years, I as a user of their medicine know that their products of the highest quality and standard.

    The fact that its a huge conspiracy against the firm may InshALLAH come in front of the public soon but the thing which is most upsetting is that the people of our country form opinions about things without even knowing anything. The comments above about the company being shut and Mr. Abdullah Feroz be punished. On what basis have you formed the opinion and who gives you the right to pass judgements without knowing any history about the company or the people owning it!
    The first free of cost BURNS hospital for the poor runs under the presidentship of Mr. Abdullah Feroz, so the millions of dollars you are assuming are in his bank account actually go to the poor. The least we can do for such great people is pray for them!
    The media should be responsible and rather than trying to earn money over every news, The news must first be confirmed! Also, they should show what the later investigations are showing in favor of the company as a BREAKING NEWS because if people have the right to know, they have the right to know everything!

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  • Daniel
    Feb 6, 2012 - 4:56PM

    @U.S:

    I second you in what you just said.. Great comments.Recommend

  • H.L
    Feb 7, 2012 - 3:45PM

    Daniel, US,Tehreem, Faiza, Ujala agreed with what you have said.actually we Pakistanis forget how much good a person or company has done for the well being of nation and we just know how to point fingers when the company or some body is in catastrophy. these ppl have been exporting medicines and who wants to disrepute the company and their 35 years of image and the anti malarial ingredient that was there in the medicine was 15 times expensive than the raw materials that were being used , who and why would the owners want to increase their price by the deliberate attempt, it is just the conspiracy of any disgruntled employee. people wake up and open your eyes how many ppl vl get jobless and as of the economy multiplier effect is there so many ppl , their famlies vl suffer and the dependents

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