A court on Tuesday sent three men suspected of involvement in the sale of a deadly cough syrup that claimed 17 lives in Lahore on a four-day physical remand.
The police sought a 10-day physical remand from the court to carry out investigations against Muhammad Rizwan, owner of Ali Medical Store, Muhammad Fida, owner of Bismillah Medical Store and Muhammad Rauf, a distributor.
According to details, Dr Asim Hussain, a health officer, registered a case against the accused contending that they had a hand in selling the syrup, Tyno, to the victims – a majority of whom were drug addicts.
The Punjab Health Department on Monday imposed a ban on Tyno, manufactured by Reko Pharmacal Lahore, and directed drug inspectors to immediately drop its stock.
According to the police, some of the victims were found dead in a graveyard where addicts used to take different kinds of drugs. Seven others died in the hospital. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also ordered an inquiry into the incident on Monday.
Representatives of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PPMA) said on Tuesday that since the Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) report is yet to declare Tyno poisonous, it was ‘not appropriate’ to hold anybody responsible for the deaths before investigations into the case are finalised.
PPMA Zonal Chairman Saleem Iqbal claimed that the deaths were not caused by any poisonous ingredient; therefore it was inappropriate to arrest any pharmaceutical company owner.
He added that PPMA representatives should also be included in the investigation team probing the matter to make its findings fair and transparent.
Meanwhile, the first autopsy report of one of the victims has been prepared at the King Edward Medical University. An official said the body’s organs have been sent to the Punjab Chemical Examiner for more tests.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2012.