LAHORE - Five more heart patients including a woman lost their lives at different health facilities in the City on Tuesday due to reaction of free medicine provided by Punjab Institute of Cardiology ( PIC), taking the death toll till today to 72.

Sughran Bii (65), Muhammad Tufail (55), a resident of Bhalwal, and Muhammad Iftikhar breathed their last at the PIC emergency. Zulfiqar Ali of Al-Faisal Town Cantt died at Mayo Hospital while Israr Ahmed lost his life at the Services Hospital.

The heirs of the deceased staged a demo outside the PIC to protest against the death of their dear and near ones.

They chanted slogans against the government and demanded exemplary punishment to those responsible for the provision of fake drugs from the PIC pharmacy.  The health facilities including the PIC have also started the process of returning money charged for the treatment and provision of medicine to the affected patients.

With the reaction of free medicine causing deaths on daily basis, the Punjab Government has enhanced security at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology to avoid any untoward incident during protests of heirs.

The Punjab Health Department has made Medical Superintendent Services Hospital Dr Rehana OSD for improper arrangements for the treatment of heart patients admitted to the health facility after reaction of medicine provided free from the PIC.

The sources, however, believe that leaked of information regarding the exact death toll at the Services Hospital led to the removal of the MS as the said incident caused embarrassment to the top officials at the Press conference held at the PIC on Monday.

During that Press conference, Secretary Health Jehanzeb Khan claimed that 27 affected patients have died so far due to the reaction of the PIC medicine.

The revelation from the media that 36 patients have died at the Services Hospital alone caused embarrassment to Dr Saeed Elahi, Jehanzeb Khan, Prof Faisal Masood and Kh Salman Rafiq. 

According to the spokesman of Health Department, 69 heart patients have so far died due to the reaction of the PIC medicine. Out of these, 38 died at Services Hospital, 13 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and 09 each at Mayo Hospital and Jinnah Hospital.

Out of affected patients, 178 have so far recovered and discharged from various hospitals.

These include 118 patients from Services Hospital, 25 from Jinnah Hospital, 18 from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 14 from Mayo Hospital and 03 from Lahore General Hospital.

 At present, 174 patients are under treatment at various hospitals of Lahore including 90 at Services Hospital, 45 at Mayo Hospital, 37 at Jinnah Hospital, 13 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 08 at LGH and one at Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital.