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Demerits force govt to ban 23 medicines

The state government has banned the use of 23 drugs in hospitals after Bihar Medical Services Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (BMSICL) pointed out the demerits of the medicines following the death of a patient.

On May 21, one Arvind Sah (44) from Belhar (Banka) was admitted to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital (JLNMCH) with a disease inside his ear. Doctors advised him to undergo surgery.

Sah was administered lignocaine, an anaesthesia, after which he collapsed on the operation table. The hospital management had lodged an FIR with Barari police station in the case.

The BMSICL, a body for supervision of the state hospitals and drug supply, objected to the quality and merits of some medicines supplied from some companies to the state drug controller.

According to sources, in the last week of June 2014, BMSICL in a letter to Hemant Kumar Sinha, the state’s drug controller, had doubted the quality of 23 medicines from seven pharmaceutical companies.

Soon after receiving the letter, the use of all 23 drugs was suspended through district drug inspectors. Apart from JLNMCH, such drugs were supplied to the district hospitals of Khagaria, Munger, Katihar, Purnea, Kishanganj and others.

On May 24, 2014, the use of lignocaine was put under suspension.

Sources revealed that the sample test of the drug had not been conducted, as the testing facility was not available at the Patna laboratory. Such tests are conducted in Calcutta.

“Since our contract with the Calcutta-based laboratory has expired, we could not send the sample of the drug there. But we would soon complete the formalities so that the quality test of lignocaine can be done,” an official said.

Promod Kumar, the Bhagalpur drug inspector, said according to the direction of the state drug controller, JLNMCH and Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Sadar Hospital, Bhagalpur, have been directed to stop the use of the 23 medicines.

The death of Sah had triggered protests inside the Assembly as well. The government has formed a high- level probe committee to probe into the incident, while the JLNMCH management has registered a murder case against the Haridwar-based pharmaceutical company, which manufactures lignocaine, which purportedly caused the patient’s death.