–Lifesaving hepatitis injection discovered to be expired since August
— Medical superintendent accuses patient, a railways union member, of ‘trying to politicise issue’
LAHORE: Expired lifesaving drugs are being provided to patients at Cairns Hospital that works under Pakistan Railway’s Social Welfare Department to provide free treatment to railways’ employees, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As per the details, Unizo, a lifesaving injection being provided to hepatitis patients, was given to Syed Amanat Ali Shah. A family member of the patient informed Pakistan Today that Amanat was being treated at the hospital for over six months where he was being provided with the medicine.
“It was discovered on Sunday (September 9) that the injection is expired, after one of Amanat’s family members discovered the expiry date inscribed at the packing of the medicine to be of August 2018,” he said, claiming that soon after they reached out to the hospital administration, they were pressurised and asked to keep silent.
It merits mention here that as per different hospitals’ manual regarding medicines, the supplier of the medicine should be intimated six months prior to the expiry date so that fresh stock could be provided. This also has been observed at different pharmacy’s receipts that medicines can be returned before a specific date prior to the expiry date.
According to sources, the administration had made a deal with a private pharmacy – Zain Medical Store – for a few medicines that are procured only when needed. The said medicine was also provided by the said store, sources informed.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Cairns Hospital MS Dr Aftab confirmed the medicine was procured from Zain Medical Store and admitted that it had crossed its date of expiry. However, he tried to justify the malpractice by saying the medicine would not harm the patient as “it had not turned into poison”.
Dr Aftab said that all rules were followed while procuring medicines and alleged that the patient, being a part of railways union, was “trying to politicise the issue”. He further claimed that the hospital had time and again referred the patient to other hospitals as Cairns was lacking facilities to treat hepatitis but the patient was not ready to leave.
Senior physician and Lahore District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Asim Hafeez, while speaking to this scribe, said that any medicine could not be used for a single day after its expiration. He said that every hospital had a pharmacist who was responsible to check every medicine being provided at the infirmary.
“It is a crime for any hospital or medical store to provide a consumer with expired medicines,” Asim added.
Railways spokesperson Quratul Ain told Pakistan Today that she was unaware of the matter and would ask the authorities to investigate the matter.