HAFIZABAD

Following report of an inquiry and lab, the police registered a case Under Section 269/274 PPC (negligent act likely to spread infection of diseases and dangerous to life and preparing/adulterating medicines injurious to health) against Admin Manager Rashid Shahzad, Director (Operations) Muhammad Umair Ali, Production Manager Farhan Khalil and Quality Control (Manager) Muhammad Shahid Inayat of Medi-Search Pharma (Pvt) Ltd Lahore on the charge of supplying adulterated and substandard medicines to the government hospitals.

The accused have not yet been arrested.

However, the factory has been sealed on the orders of the Punjab Quality Controller. The factory has been sealed following report of the Drug Testing Laboratory that the medicines manufactured by the factory were substandard and adulterated.

Meanwhile, the police arrested former Hafizabad DHQ Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Irshad Ullah Chattha, Drug Inspector Arif Ghouri, Pharmacist Naseer Ahmad while raid are being conducted for the arrest of the remaining accused involved in the purchase of substandard medicines during their posting in Hafizabad.

The scandal regarding the purchase of substandard medicines, even life saving drugs came to limelight when on the complaint of some citizens, a team of Provincial Ombudsman conducted surprised raid in the DHQ Hospital. The team impounded some substandard drugs about one month ago. Later, On Nov 10, citizens brought the issue into the notice of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during his visit to flood affected areas of Pindi Battian. The citizens informed the CM about the provision of fake medicines to patients in the DHQ Hospital which was tantamount to playing with the lives of hapless patients. Thereupon, the CM ordered immediate sealing of the medicine store of DHQ Hospital and sought report within 24 hours.

On November 13, the CM’s Inspection Team headed by Irfan Ali and comprising Punjab Director (Health) Dr Zahid Nazir, Commissioner Gujranwala Shumail Ahmad Khawaja, King Edward Medical University Vice Chancellor Dr Faisal Masood, Gujranwala Division Director Health Dr Pervaiz Nazir Tarar, DCO Muhammad Usman and other officers visited DHQ Hospital and recorded statements of the Storekeeper, Accountant, Deputy District Drug Controller and examined standard of medicines stocked in the storeroom. The CM’s Inspection Team immediately made EDO Health Dr Naseer Ahmad Kahlon, DHQ Hospital MS Dr.Shahid Farooq, former EDO Health Dr Farooq-e-Azam Tarar and former MS Dr Irshad Ullah Chattha as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and taken into custody record regarding the purchase of the medicines.

It may been mentioned that there had been numerous complaints regarding the fake and substandard medicines in the hospital over the past some years but no one ever dared to hold inquiry to ascertain the facts and fix responsibility for the purchase of such inferior quality medicines.

It is pertinent to mention that Hafizabad is native district of the Minister of State for Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar and the citizens were right in questioning her that how the officers concerned dared purchase substandard medicines worth million of rupees in her native district.

Meanwhile, Local citizens have called upon the government to expand the inquiry to expose the mafia behind the purchase and provision of substandard medicines to DHQ Hospital Hafizabad. They demanded that cases should be registered immediately against all officers, contractors, mafia behind the corrupt officers.