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LAHORE: The Punjab Primary Healthcare Department has suspended 11 drug inspectors over negligence in six districts of the province over Avastin injection issue which led to loss of eye sight of the users of this substandard injection.

As per information, three drug inspectors were suspended each in Lahore and Bahawalpur, two in Rahimyar Khan and one each in Jhang, Kasur and Khanewal.

Those who were suspended included drug inspectors, deputy drug controller and drug controller. Two drug inspectors and a deputy drug controller namely Daniyal Elahi Cheema, Sher Muhammad Zaman and Rana Muhammad Shahid, respectively, were suspended in Lahore. Drug controller Atiya Nawaz suspended from Jhang, drug controllers Ali Raza and Rana Muhammad Akram, and deputy drug controller faced the music in Bahawalpur, drug controller Ameer Shahid and deputy drug controller Farrakh Saleem were suspended from Rahimyar Khan, drug control Sanaullah Saif suspended from Kasur and drug controller Rana Akram from Khanewal also faced suspension.

As per reports, the spurious injection Avastin had so far affected over 300 people in Punjab. The health authorities had recalled the injection from the Punjab’s medical stores. Legal action is being taken against pharmacists selling medicines at higher prices.

According to reports, diabetic patients in Lahore, Kasur, and Jhang districts were administered Avastin injections to address retinal damage. However, these injections led to severe infections, ultimately resulting in the loss of eyesight.

Moreover, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has launched a crackdown against medicine distributors amid the rising cases of vision loss due to the use of substandard injections in Punjab.

DRAP officials said that no hospital, laboratory or pharmacy in Pakistan has a licence to repack the injection. They revealed that both unregistered and registered injections are available in the market. They advised the people and hospitals not to use the imported injections before quality check results were obtained.

The DRAP officials and the provincial drug authorities raided the offices of medicine distributors and recovered 110 vials from there which were sent to a drug testing laboratory in Lahore.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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