LAHORE: Two patients died of liver failure while the condition of many others worsened in past months after the administration of allegedly spurious anesthesia drugs at the Service Hospital.

Services Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Iftikhar told Dawn that a network of the criminals involved in the drug scam has been unearthed.

He said the drug’s reaction on patients occurred before his posting at the Services Hospital.

The shocking revelations came to the light when the test reports of patients who were administered the anesthesia drug “Restane’ were diagnosed with liver diseases and jaundice.

The scope of the investigation has been expanded from the Services Hospital to other public and private hospitals of the city to size the stock of the controversial medicine after the Drug Testing Lab (DTL) report declared it spurious.

The drug was immediately stopped by the hospital management, and its entire stock was seized, he said.

He added that a committee of senior medics of the institute was constituted when the drug’s reaction on many patients was reported by the on duty medics.

The report later confirmed the incident of drug’s reaction on many patients while recommending stopping its further use.

About the delay in taking action, he said, the DTL took many weeks to generate results of the test reports.

“As soon as we received committee’s report, we recommended criminal action against the guilty people,” Dr Iftikhar said.

Those nominated in the FIR registered with the Shadman Police Station included proprietor of the pharmacy (Akram Brothers Jail Road) Mohammad Aslam Khan, manager Mohammad Abbas, pharmacist Usma Yousuf, warrantor Raja Abdul Raheem and the firm Impressive Biotechnical and Pharmaceuticals Limited.

In a raid at the pharmacy, drug inspectors also got the peddler of the spurious drug arrested.

Chief Drugs Controller Azhar Jamal Saleemi said that the health department teams acted on the recommendations of the Services Hospital Lahore’s management.

He said that the team of the drugs inspectors took many days to unearth the racket supplying the spurious drug to the Services Hospital where incident occurred.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2020