LAHORE: Another scam of embezzlement worth Rs500m has surfaced at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), Lahore, which has already been shaken up by such scandals in the recent past.

The new scandal surfaced a couple of weeks back during the digitalisation of the record of the institute’s pharmacy.

During the process, the officials found a huge quantity of stents, pacemakers, medicines and other disposable items at the PIC missing under mysterious circumstances and they alerted the senior management of the institute.

About the scandal, the newly-appointed medical superintendent (PIC) of the PIC, Dr Farooq, showed his utter ignorance of new scam though he confirmed that the allegations had been proved in the inquiry report.

Talking to Dawn, he said he was appointed as new MS of the PIC around a week back and he was not aware of the officer who headed the inquiry panel, members of the panel and the employees held responsible for the theft of the disposable items in the findings.

Huge quantity of stents, pacemakers, medicines found missing during record digitalisation

Dr Farooq, who was posted as MS PIC by health secretary Ali Jan, said the incident occurred a few days before his appointment and refused to share further details.

An official source alleged that the inquiry committee, formed by the institute’s management, shifted the entire responsibility to the junior staff, holding them guilty of the charges while sparing all the other senior staff members. He said the complaint was submitted to the institute’s management that the pacemakers, medical equipment and medicines had been stolen from the pharmacy.

Earlier, another such incident had come to the limelight when officially supplied medicines of the PIC were being sold in a private pharmacy.

Similarly, another scandal of implantation of expired stents in the cardiac patients had brought bad name to the institute when the allegations proved true in an inquiry, which had recommended action against five medics under the PEEDA Act in December last year. Later, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also proved the allegations true in its investigation and declared the then chief executive officer of the PIC and others responsible for implanting faulty stents in the cardiac patients.

The official said another mega scam of supplying adulterated medicines to the patients at the PIC during the first tenure of the PML-N government in Punjab had also surfaced when there were reports that nearly 150 patients had died of reaction.

Such incidents happening frequently are bringing a bad name to the institute that is responsible for the health of cardiac patients.

About the new case of theft, the official said, the five-member committee was headed by PIC Executive Director Prof Dr Bilal Mohiyuddin. It recommended action against a storekeeper, computer operator and other junior clerks while it was silent about the role of senior command, he added.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022

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