A locally-manufactured injection in Pakistan to address retinal damage in diabetic patients resulted in severe eye infections and loss of vision in several areas of the Punjab province. The product has now been recalled and a case has been registered against the suppliers, reported Dawn.
Diabetic patients in Lahore, Kasur and Jhang districts were administered Avastin injections for retinal damage. The injections led to severe infections and loss of eyesight in around 12 patients, including the brother of senior Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Manzoor.
Pakistan's caretaker Health Minister Nadeem Jan on Sunday said that the product has been recalled from the market after receiving reports of infections from Multan, Kasur, Lahore and Sadiqabad. "The supplier [of the injections], two men, a first information report (FIR) has been registered against them and a legal inquiry has been initiated," he said.
Five-member committee formed to probe matter
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has formed a five-member committee to probe the cases of infections and vision loss among patients being administered the Avastin injections in different hospitals.
Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Jamal Nasir said that a large margin of profit was being earned through the injection that was being manufactured by a multinational pharmaceutical and distributed by a "well-reputed" institution.
According to Nasir, the committee will investigate whether the problem was due to a sterilisation or was there a problem with the entire batch of doses. Authorities were also probing the license for importing the doses, the distribution process and the qualification of doctors.
"It seems there are between 14 to 20 patients" who were affected by the doses, said Nasir, even as authorities did not provide a concrete figure.
Jan said that the interim government would cooperate with those affected by the medicine and provide them with necessary medical attention. Meanwhile, doctors raised concerns over unsterilised injections and called for serious attention to prevent such incidents in the future.
According to Geo News, Nasir further said that dealers were selling counterfeit injections in several parts of the Punjab province. "None of the operatives of the fake injection-selling network has been arrested yet," he said.