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Government hospitals in Indian-administered Kashmir supplied spurious antibiotics

Peerzada Arshad Hamid

Srinagar, April 09, 2013:

The government run hospitals across Indian-administered Kashmir were providing spurious antibiotics to the patients, a recently drafted official report reveals.

According to the report prepared by region’s Drug and Food Control Department, the antibiotic Maximizin-625 (Amoxicillin Trihydrate and Potassium Clavunate) in government hospitals was found spurious.

“It has tested negative in the analysis as it contains zero milligrams of Amoxicillin instead of 500 milligrams claimed by the company,” reads the report accessed by Kashmir Newz.

Doctors say these medicines are generally prescribed for post-operative care.

Officials said, of the 200,000 tablet of Maximizin-625 supplied by distributor last year, around half of the supply has already been consumed by patients.

“We have ordered a probe and registered a criminal case against the company that supplied the spurious drugs,” said Taj Mohi-ud-Din, region’s Medical Education Minister. “It is a heinous crime against society. Stern action would be initiated against the company and those involved in the scam.”

Mohi-ud-Din said he was ashamed of officers and others who have passed these drugs before testing them.

The region’s Drug and Food Control Organization is mandated to collect the samples of drugs on random basis from the stores in health institutions and accordingly advise the government about the quality of drugs being supplied to hospitals.

The scam was unearthed during a random laboratory test of the drug, following which supplies were seized from region's hospitals including some premier one’s, where it was already in use.

“Maximizin-625 batch NO. PBT-1583 was lifted from provincial medical store Barzulla on February 2, 2013 and the sample was sent to drug testing laboratory Srinagar for analysis,” said Shabir Ahmad Khan, the junior Minister for Health. “The said drug was found sub-standard and the Drug Organization functionaries seized all the available stocks of Maximizin-625 to ensure that this should not be put to use.”

Police has registered a criminal case against a Jammu based drug company Ms Life Line Pharmaco for supplying the spurious antibiotics to the government run hospitals across the region. The company was granted the contract in June 2012 for the supply of the antibiotics.

Khan said they suspended Controller Drug Stores Kashmir and constituted a three member committee to investigate the issue. The committee has been asked to submit the report to the government within 15 days.

The authorities have withheld payments of Ms Life Line Pharmaco worth USD 15,617.45 and directed Chairman Central Purchase Committee to initiate the process of its black listing and cancellation of drug license.

The antibiotic Maximizin-625 is manufactured by a Himachal Pradesh based pharmaceutical company Affy Parenterals and marketed by a Mumbai based company Medley Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The drug was purchased after it was passed for use in government run hospitals by the health department’s purchasing committee. Subsequently it was supplied to district hospitals, sub-districts hospitals and other health centers.

Health authorities have sent an advisory to all the hospitals to stop dispensing Maximizin-625.

Meanwhile, the association of doctors has demanded the resignation of former health minister Sham Lal Sharma, who is presently the region's Minister of Irrigation. Last year Sharma was holding the charge of region’s health ministry.

“We believe Sharma has a nexus with the erring Jammu-based distributor,” said president Doctors Association Kashmir, Dr. Nisar-ul-Hasan. “He should step down or else the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should expel him from the cabinet.”

The association said their members will not prescribe medicines supplied to government run hospitals.

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