Caretaker Federal Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan on Sunday said that a locally-manufactured injection, which caused vision loss among several patients in Punjab, had been withdrawn from the market and action had been launched against suppliers and manufacturers.

“The stock of injection has been recalled from the market and stern action has been started against two drug suppliers,” the health minister said, while addressing a press conference along with Punjab Health Minister Dr Jamal Nasir in Islamabad.

He added that complaints of vision loss from injection were received from Multan, Kasur, Faisalabad and Sadiqabad. The minister was of the view that investigation into all aspects was going on. “We’ll provide best health facilities to patients who lost their eyesight after using the injection,” the caretaker health minister said.

Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Dr Jamal Nasir said the injection is of 100mg 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. Dr Jamal Nasir said that a large margin of profit was being earned through the injection. He said the injection came in a dose of 100mg and was manufactured by a multinational pharmaceutical and distributed by a well-reputed institution.

“The dose is 100mg. But it is divided for the eyes because only a 1.2mg dose is required,” the provincial minister said. He said the entire batch had been removed from the market by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), adding instructions had been issued that that it would not be sold till the reports came in.

The Punjab government has constituted a five-member committee to review eye injuries due to Avastin injection. The committee will submit its report within three days and will also put forward recommendations to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future.

The committee will be led by King Edward Medical University’s Dr Asad Aslam Khan as convener. Other members include Director General Drugs Control Muhammad Sohail, Mayo Hospital’s Dr Muhammad Moin, Lahore General Hospital’s Dr Tayyaba and Services Hospital’s Prof Dr Mohsin.

All doctors and patients have been instructed not to use Avastin injection and medical stores, wholesalers and distributors have been stopped from selling the injection. Samples of the injection have been sent for lab tests so that the real facts could be brought out.

Dr. Jamal Nasir further said the dengue situation was under complete control in Punjab, dengue larvae had been destroyed by taking timely measures and all hotspots were being fully monitored. He said that in the next few weeks, the number of daily dengue patients will also start to decrease.

Meanwhile, Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi ordered to stop the sale of injection along with lifting the stock from the market till the submission of the inquiry report.

CM Mohsin Naqvi said the Punjab government will provide free treatment to the affected persons. He ordered to take action against the drug inspectors on committing negligence in cities where eyesight of patients got effected and ordered the Punjab Healthcare Commission to undertake scrutiny of concerned clinics. The CM directed to ensure steps are taken for elimination of conjunctivitis at every level along with ensuring availability of trained doctors in hospitals for treatment. The CM presided over an important meeting at the CM Office on Sunday in which a detailed briefing was given on the eyesight loss due to injection.

Eye specialists gave a briefing on the use of injection and its method. Preventive measures and steps being taken for eradication of conjunctivitis disease were reviewed during the meeting.

The secretary health gave a briefing about the conjunctivitis disease, which is curable. Most of the cases occurred in Lahore, Multan, Rahimyar Khan, Khanewal, Kasur and Bahawalpur.

Meanwhile, about seventeen people have been affected at different places of Kasur district due to the injection.


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2023-09-25

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