LAHORE – Three more heart patients, including two women, lost their lives in the City on Saturday due to the reaction of medicines provided free of cost in Punjab Institute of Cardiology, taking the death toll till today to 107. Rasheeda Bibi (70), a resident of Sargodha, Sarwar Bibi (60) of Narowal and Rehmat Ali (47) of Samanabad breathed their last at the Services Hospital.

Special Committee headed by Maj ® Mubashir Ullah continued probing different aspects of the case including collection of data of patients from public sector and private healthcare centres in the City. Pharmacist of the PIC Muhammad Yousaf and store keeper has also been arrested for interrogation.

According to the spokesman of Health Department, 37 patients affected by PIC medicine have recovered and discharged from various hospitals during the last 24 hours. As such 301 patients have so far recovered and returned home which included 215 from Services Hospital, 32 from Jinnah Hospital, 27 from Mayo Hospital, 22 from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and 03 from Lahore General Hospital.

At present, 360 patients are still in various hospitals, including 171 at Services Hospital, 81 at Mayo Hospital, 57 at Jinnah Hospital, 22 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 16 at LGH and 04 at Shaikh Zayed Hospital Lahore. Moreover, two patients each unare der treatment at Allied Hospital in Faisalabad, Wapda Hospital in Lahore, Nishtar Hospital in Multan and DHQ Hospital in Narowal. One more is at at DHQ Hospital in Layyah. 

The spokesman further stated that 85 deaths due to reaction of medicines have been confirmed so far. He said that report regarding death of two patients in Services Hospital and one patient in Mayo Hospital.

Meanwhile, when the civil society and political circles are criticising the Punjab chief minister over the historic deaths of over hundred cardiac patients by suspected drug’s reaction in the provincial hospitals, the Lahore High Court has been requested on Saturday to bind the CM for relinquishing 18 portfolios including health ministry.

Holding of 18 portfolios by Mian Muahmmad Shahbaz Sharif has been challenged by a local lawyer Noshab A. Khan through a writ petition. The petitioner asked the LHC to direct chief minister not to hold 18 portfolios, including health ministry, which according to the complainant led to failure in curbing the menace of drug reaction. He pointed out that the portfolio of Health Minister was currently being kept by Shahbaz Sharif. The chief minister is head of the provincial cabinet and all ministers work under his supervision, but no minister is appointed for eighteen posts and he is retaining 18 portfolios alone, Noshab Khan says. He further pointed out in his petition that the health ministry didn’t exist alike other ministries, therefore, the government had failed to curb dengue epidemic and now the drug reaction menace in also out of its control, leading to the loss of precious lives.