Injection responsible for causing eyesight loss recalled, says Pakistan health minister - GulfToday

Injection responsible for causing eyesight loss recalled, says Pakistan health minister


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

Caretaker Federal Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan said on Sunday that an injectable medicine that was causing a severe eye infection and sight loss in diabetic patients in the province of Punjab has been recalled and an investigation ordered while police are looking for the suppliers.

Dr Jan on Sunday said in Islamabad that the spurious injection Avastin, which had so far affected over 300 people in the province, had been recalled from the Punjab’s medical stores, while a case had also been registered against the two absconding suppliers of locally manufactured injection. The Punjab government has formed a five-member committee of experts to look into the matter and report in three days.

In a televised news conference along with Jan, Punjab Health Minister Jamal Nasir said diabetic patients in Lahore, Kasur and other districts were administered Avastin injections to address retinal damage. However, the injections led to severe infections, ultimately resulting in the loss of sight of a dozen patients.

Jan said that the government would prosecute those responsible while providing those affected with medical assistance.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab health minister said action was being taken against pharmacists selling medicines at higher prices.

The minister said the Punjab government was also taking steps for the elimination of dengue virus from the province. “Thankfully, so far no one has died in Punjab from the virus,” he added.

On the other hand, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader from Kasur Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmad expressed the fear that more cases could be reported in days to come. “Over 20 cases have been reported from the district, including that of my brother and his friend,” he disclosed.

“I am the one who broke the news. I’m the whistle-blower. Now it is up to the government what action it takes,” he added.

“The question is when Avastin is banned in the entire world, including the USA, why its sale was allowed here in Pakistan,” he wonder

Earlier, following reports that dozens of patients of diabetes had lost their eyesight in Lahore and Kasur, although partially, after they were administered locally manufactured injection Avastin, Punjab’s healthcare minister ordered the removal of the injection from medical stores.

On the other hand, the inquiry committee, headed by Dr Asad Aslam, will submit its findings within three days.

The federal government launched an immediate inquiry into a complaint received from Kasur that the injection, when administered to patients, caused an adverse reaction.

Taking notice of the complaint, Federal Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan contacted Punjab Minister for Health Dr Javed Ikram by telephone and ordered an inquiry.

Jan assured Ikram that the federal government would take all necessary steps to ensure a transparent inquiry into the incident. “We are keeping a close eye on the situation,” the minister said.

Provincial Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Dr Jamal Nasir said that the injection is of 100 mg and there are around 14 to 20 patients so far who lost their vision.

“We first launched the FIR against Naveed and Bilal for making substandard drug. They were charging up to 1 lac for each injection,” he said.

The Punjab government formed a five-member committee to probe the loss of eyesight among patients after allegedly being administered locally manufactured injection “Avastin” at different hospitals in the province.

NNI News Service

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