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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Punjab begins a very strict crackdown as cases of vision loss increase


No hospital, laboratory, or pharmacy in Pakistan has a license to repackage the injection, according to DRAP officials.

The cities of Lahore and ISLAMABAD: On Monday, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) launched a stringent assault against pharmaceutical distributors in response to a rise in cases of vision impairment caused by substandard injections in Punjab.

Initially, it was reported that over forty diabetes patients in the province experienced vision-related complications, prompting the provincial caretaker government to implement a two-week ban on the sale and use of Avastin for ophthalmological treatments.

However, the tally has since increased to over 70 affected patients. Following the publication of these reports, DRAP issued a nationwide prohibition on the use of these injections in hospitals, pharmacies, and by patients.

No hospital, laboratory, or pharmacy in Pakistan is licensed to repackage the injection, according to DRAP officials. They revealed that the market contains both unregistered and registered injections.

In addition, the officials advised the public and institutions not to use the imported injections until the results of quality checks were obtained.

Today, DRAP and provincial drug authorities conducted a search on the offices of medicine distributors and seized 110 vials, which were then transported to a drug testing laboratory in Lahore.

Ten patients from Multan, one from Bahawalpur, and three from Jhang are currently receiving treatment at Nishtar Hospital, while cases have also been reported in Lahore, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad, and Faisalabad.

The police are searching for two individuals named Bilal and Naveed.

In accordance with a notification issued by the interim government of Punjab, eleven drug inspectors have been arrested for selling injections purchased from unlawful, unregistered companies.

The notification stated that three drug inspectors from Lahore, two from Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan, and one from Jhang, Sadiqabad, Kasur, Bahawalnagar, and Khanewal were suspended.

A day earlier, the Punjab government prohibited the sale and use of Avastin for ophthalmology-related treatments for two weeks.

Mohsin Naqvi, the caretaker chief minister of Punjab, also announced free medical treatment for patients who received substandard ocular injections.

In response to a pending investigation, he pledged that drug inspectors responsible for the availability of non-sterile injections would face immediate disciplinary action. The prime minister stated that the government would quickly assemble a powerful investigation team.

The police were ordered to guarantee the arrests of those identified as the perpetrators of the incidents.



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