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Licenses of 2 pharma cos suspended for sterilisation deaths in Chhatisgarh

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Saturday, November 22, 2014, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Licence of two pharma companies, Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd at Raipur and Kavita Pharmaceuticals in Bilaspur, manufacturers of drugs administered at government run camp at Chhatisgarh leading to sterilisation deaths of over 12 patients a fortnight ago has been suspended by the state government. Suspensions were made following government raids on their premises.

Following the raids, the state government has banned sale of antibiotic, Ciprocin, manufactured by these two companies. Raids at Mahawar Pharma in Khamaridih, Raipur, revealed the factory was operating from a residential area in violation of rules and had only two employees who were manufacturing and testing drugs for quality.

The Chhattisgarh state government has banned the sale and distribution of all medicines from Mahawar Pharmaceuticals following seizures of 200,000 tablets of Ciprocin 500 made by the company. The drugs had an expiry date of December 2016.

The company had dispatched 152,000 tablets from the same batch in the first week of October, and that these were sold to four drug stockists in districts across Chhattisgarh.

An investigation is underway into why the drugs were bought locally when there was enough stock of the medicine with the state's central procurement agency.

Mahawar Pharma's licence was issued in 1996. However, it's not known how medicines were locally purchased when the state has a centralised procurement system controlled by Chhattisgarh Medical Services Corporation for buying and distributing drugs to government-run hospitals.

According to sources, though a case of contamination has been made out to be but it is not so. Drug samples sent to government labs at Kolkata and Nagpur is still awaited. The three accused people are in police custody and have been booked under sections 304 and 311 of IPC. Inquiry committees comprising retired judges instituted under the state government are probing the matter.

It has been given to understand that it may be clear case of medical negligence wherein an anesthesia overdose has led to heart or kidney failure culminating into the deaths. However unofficial sources inform that there are unreported 50 deaths with 15 victims on life support systems. A total of 130 operations were conducted at a government run camp which ended up with officially reported 13 deaths.

Police have arrested Ramesh Mahawar, his son Sumit and Dr R K Gupta who performed over 80 surgeries which led to the deaths. The three accused are in police custody.


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