LAHORE, Feb 13: A three-member board, consisting of senior police officers, has held 17 people, including owners of the Efroze Pharma and three Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIMC) doctors, responsible for scores of deaths of heart patients owing to a spurious life-saving medicine.

The board, consisted of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Zulfiqar Cheema, DIG Farooq Mazhar and SSP Zulfiqar Hameed, says in its report the 17 people ignored vital steps from manufacturing to the distribution of the drug.

The report has been submitted to the Lahore High Court.

The board was constituted by Inspector General Javed Iqbal to probe the drugs reaction scandal.

The report confirmed that patients died from adulteration of Pyrimethamine in the Isotab-20, a fact already highlighted in laboratories’ analysis.

“The company staff mixed 25kg pyrimethamine instead of Pregelatinised Starch in the container in which the Isotab-20 drug was prepared,” the report said.

The report recommends action under sections 322 and 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and under Drug Act 23/27 against 10 Efroze Pharma officials, who are: owner Muhammad Abdullah Feroze, Deputy Managing Director Nadir Feroze, Technical Director Khurram Munaf, Plant General Manager Shakil Ahmad Khan, Quality Control Manager Muhammad Imtiaz, Production Executive Tabish Numani, Supply Chain Executive Syed Waqas Husain, Store Officer Syed Iftikhar Ahmad and helpers Syed Raza Haider Kazmi and Muhammad Shoib Ansari.

It also recommended action against the drug supplying company, Umer Trading Company, owners Muhammad Musharraf and Tariq Rehman under section 322 of the PPC and under Drug Act 23/27.

Similarly, the body recommended action against PIC doctors who were members of the inspection committee for medicines. These doctors include Dr Abdul Hameed, DMS (store) Dr Ali Hasan and DMS DR Ameer Ali besides PIC store in charge Muhammad Yusuf and storekeeper Zulfiqar Ali.

“They (PIC officials) violated standard operating procedures, good manufacturing practices, current good manufacturing practices, international pharmacopeia (Ph Int) and the Drug Act of 1976,” the report said.

It said the Efroze store department had no record of the 25kg pyrimethamine which was used in Sept. Also, some company officials had informed the production staff and owners on Sept 21 and 29 about the contamination of the drug but no solid measure was taken by the company.

The company also failed to take any action when Plant General Manger Shakil informed the owners about the disappearance of 25kg pyrimethamine from the store on Oct 4.

The plant manager told the investigators that though in the initial test an unusual spike was identified in the Isotab drug, it was supplied to the distributing company on the basis of its active component.

The report says the Umar Trading Company supplied two million Isotab tablets to the PIC on Oct 8, 2011, under delivery chalan No 462. The company mentioned batch numbers J-092 and J-095 in the record against the supplied drug.

According to the Efroze record, the tablets were handed over to the trading company under batch numbers J-091, J-092, J-093, J-094, J-095 and J-096 which were received by PIC storekeeper Zulfiqar on Sept 8 but he did not mention the batch J-093 in the record. The report said no Isotab sample was sent to the Drug Testing Laboratory before distributing it to the patients.

The Efroze administration also did not tested the drug during and after the manufacturing procedure.

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