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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Haque
Full Name: Anwar Ul Haque
User since: 28/Mar/2007
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With the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

Friday, June 19, 2009

To,

The Honorable Chief Justice,

Supreme Court of Pakistan,

Islamabad

 

Subject: Substandard Drugs at Public Sector Hospitals

 

Dear Honorable Chief Justice: Assalamo Alaikum.

I am one of the senior pharmacists working at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). I would like to bring to your kind attention a very serious matter pertaining to the patients treated at public sector hospitals such as PIMS.

The budget for health and education in Pakistan is very meager. The situation becomes grimmer when this limited money is wasted and companies are allowed to dump their defective and substandard products in Public Sector Hospitals. In any civilized country, the substandard drugs would be destroyed. In Pakistan, in connivance with the corrupt pharmacists and other members of the hospital administration these drugs are allowed to be consumed. This not only deprives quality care to the patients but may also expose them to serious health hazards. Al-Hamdolillah I had been consistently pointing out use of substandard drugs at PIMS in order to protect the health of our patients. This I consider a duty of any conscientious pharmacist.

It was very heartening to see your quick and swift Suo Motto action on news on this issue in many well reputed newspapers of Pakistan.  The Secretary of Health on your orders constituted a committee to probe in the matter under the chairmanship of then Director General Health. Unfortunately the committee was comprised of several members who did not know basics of drug testing. One of the technical members was abroad and he merely signed the report. Another technical person was from the institute which issued a wrong report and then Director General of Health had very cordial relations with the Chief Pharmacist who was prime suspect in the case. The committee interviewed mainly those pharmacists who were part of the entire game. As a result the entire issue was hush hushed and a report of “All is well” was issued.

Sir! Let me briefly point out some glaring examples of use of substandard drugs which were pointed out by me:

Case 1: Visible by naked eye impurities was observed in life saving injection adrenaline (Batch H-1105, Injection manufactured by Venus Pharmaceutical, Lahore). The drug was declared substandard by two national laboratories and the company was issued a show cause. However he present committee denied use of substandard drugs and all media reporting was dismissed.  

Case 2: Tablet orthanil (Batch 861-863, manufactured by Genera Pharmaceutical, Islamabad). Despite the Federal Drug Inspector’s declaration of the drugs to be substandard, the Chief Pharmacist allowed continued consumption of the drug. Drug Testing Authorities in Karachi confirmed the drug to be substandard. However after 27 months a certificate of being standard was obtained from Drug Testing Facility in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad to protect the company rather than the patients.

Case 3: Tab H2 Rec (Ranitidine, Batch 73 and 76) and Tab B. Complex (Manufactured by Zafa Pharmaceutical, Karachi). The samples were taken by Federal Drug Inspectors and as per results of Drug Testing Laboratories Karachi the drugs were found substandard.

Case 4: Tab Ambrofen 400 mg (Manufactured by Jawa Pharma Lahore) and Tab. Zonaid 400mg (manufactured by Bloom Pharma, Islamabad). The drugs were seized by FDI as the tablets were of variable sizes, discolored and broken within strips etc.  After elapse of over 11 months, no action had been taken and the drugs were continued to be used in the hospital. Interestingly the chairman of the committee had become E.D of PIMS and despite my written complaints no action was taken.

Case 5: Three episodes of “thefts” in pharmacy stores occurred over the span of 11 months. Thorough inquiries were carried out. However the inquiry against the real suspects was not allowed and when the chairman of the last inquiry committee started probing in that direction, the file of the inquiry while in process was snatched by the  same E.D. and chairman of the committee i.e. Dr. Abdul Majeed Rajput in connivance with the Chief Pharmacist who wanted to give due protection to the members of his gang.  The Chief Pharmacist is now on 2 year overseas leaves.

Sir! Nothing could be more painful to see the mutilation of justice through abuse of human intellect. I had been pointing out various corruptions and abuse of substandard drugs at public sector hospitals throughout my career. Al-Hamdolillah due to my efforts at times Government was able to recover funds and stop malpractices thus benefitting the patients treated at the Government Hospitals. However for past several years serious decay has occurred and instead of protecting patients, the interests of companies had been protected at the expense of health of the patients. Instead of punishing the culprits, honestly reporting and conscientious persons are penalized and ridiculed. In order to protect the health of the poor patients and even some VIPS who are treated at PIMS, may I request you to kindly allow me personal hearing at your convenience so that I may explain the entire situation as I was the primary observant and complainant in all these cases. I am sure that your effective actions will go a long way to the protection of our people who have so high hopes in our judicial system under your able, effective and honest leadership. May Allah keep you and your family in His protection! Aameen.

 

Truly,

 

Miss Gul-e-Nargis

Pharmacist,

PIMS. G 8/3 Islamabad 

Phone: 0331-5330448

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