Substandard drugs: Interim bail granted to DG Health

Defence says Muhammad Chohan not given the opportunity to defend himself.

Our Correspondent April 26, 2013
Defence says Muhammad Chohan not given the opportunity to defend himself .

PESHAWAR: Interim bail was granted to Dr Muhammad Ali Chohan, the former director general of the health department, on Friday. His case will now be heard on May 3.

An FIR was filed against Chohan among other officials over charges of purchasing substandard Hepatitis-C vaccines for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department. The former director’s extension on pre-arrest bail was denied by an Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) court on April 22 due to his absence from case proceedings.

The defendant’s counsel, Ghulam Muhiuddin Malik, told Justice Syed Afsar Shah of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) that since the FIR was filed during the suo motu case proceedings, his client was not given the opportunity to defend himself.

Malik argued that Chohan was the DG health for only a few months in 2010 before being transferred from the post, adding his client was not involved in the scam and requested the court to accept his bail request. Chohan was then granted interim bail till May 3.

The officials are accused of purchasing approximately 1.6 million sub-standard interferon vials. The drug used for immunisation against Hepatitis C cost the health department roughly Rs250 million.

On February 6, the PHC took notice of sub-standard interferon injections supplied to government-run hospitals. On March 13, ACE Director Syed Fayyaz Ali Shah submitted a preliminary report, which said six patients were suspected to have died because of the injections.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2013.


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