Monday, 15 July 2019

Hepatitis C-AIDS drug meant for 1,800 patients expires at Punjab government garage facility

LAHORE: In what appears to be a case of sheer negligence on the part of the health government concerned, costly hepatitis C medicine meant for 1,800 sufferers stricken by co-infection -- HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis C - allegedly expired at the authorities’s Medical Store Depot (MSD).

Moreover, the repute of the same medicine supposed for three,200 sufferers that became supplied to the remedy centres everywhere in the province over the past  years turned into “not regarded”.

The ‘scam’ became officially detected and said with the aid of a group of experts at some point of inspection of the government MSD placed on the Gurumangat Road, Gulberg.

The medication turned into purchased for the treatment of those HIV/AIDS patients who have been additionally stricken by chronic hepatitis C sickness, says an official report to be had with Dawn.

The central warehouse - MSD – changed into set up to shop bulk purchases of medicines/gadget intended for the health department at provincial level for the tasks, which includes IRMNCH, Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI), except communicable ailment control and the TB control programmes.

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According to the record, the hepatitis/HIV-AIDS medication turned into bought via the number one & secondary healthcare department under the Punjab Aids Control Programme (PACP) in April 2017 for 5,000 sufferers at a price of Rs126 million.

The PACP was headed by means of additional secretary (technical) Dr Asim Altaf of the number one & secondary healthcare department.

As consistent with assets, the medicines expired in April this 12 months, however the programme head allegedly concealed the fact from the better authorities to avoid punishment.

The government had currently eliminated Dr Asim from the programme following reviews of sharp growth inside the wide variety of HIV-AIDs instances in Punjab, an authentic stated.

Recently, they said, the specialists done inspection of the MSD warehouse and detected the rip-off.

The experts in their document added it into the attention of the higher authorities, recommending strict departmental action in opposition to the ones chargeable for “the loss to the country wide exchequer.”

According to the document, the 30,000 packs of the medication Sofiget (capsules) which had been to be dispensed among 1,820 sufferers, had been located expired.

It said the PACP acquired 30,000 blend packs (Sofiget+Ribazole) worth Rs126 million from Hepatitis C Control Programme on July 12, 2017 with expiry date of April 2019.

“It turned into stored in MSD, Gulberg, for the use of 5,000 patients of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C co-contamination”, states the file.

It similarly said that the PACP were given issued 28,one hundred eighty combo packs of hepatitis C remedy worth Rs118m from the MSD.

“These packs had been distributed to the remedy centres in Punjab and their fate is not recognised”, the document mentions.

It talked about that the closing 1,820 blend packs have been not accrued by the PACP from the MSD and expired.

The experts encouraged inside the document that notice should be taken of the matter and a probe be performed because it worried “heavy loss to the countrywide exchequer”.

The record also referred to that 9,475 gadgets purchased underneath the Non-Communicable Disease Programme additionally expired in Feb this year, exposing the apathy of the fitness authorities toward the sufferers in addition to the country wide exchequer.

Health Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman, in his respond to the Dawn question approximately the difficulty said the hepatitis C remedy became procured through the Hepatitis and Infection Control Programme in FY 2016-17 from M/s Getz Pakistan Pvt Limited.

He stated the stock changed into added at Government Sub Medical Store Depot, Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore. From this stock, he stated, 30,000 packs (five,000 sufferers publications) had been issued to the PACP on July eleven, 2017. The PACP dispatched about five,000 packs to the sufferers from the Sub MSD, Thokar Niaz Baig.

Meanwhile, he said, the storage contract of the Thokar Sub MSD lapsed and the complete inventory, consisting of hepatitis C medication, become moved to the Gulberg MSD in March/April 2018. The operational manage of this keep was with the M/s TCS Logistics Pvt restrained.

From right here, he stated, the PACP issued the medicine to their facilities from August to December 2018. After all dispatches by using the PACP, a total of one,820 packs had been left in the shop and reached expiry in April, 2019.

M/s TCS Logistics Pvt Limited verbally knowledgeable the involved programmes approximately the imminent expiry date of the ultimate inventory (1,820 packs).

Mr Zaman stated that as according to the PACP authorities, the producing agency become under an duty to update any expired inventory with the fresh one.

He said at the directions of the involved programme,  representatives of M/s Getz Pakistan Pvt Limited (the producing company) had visited the Gulberg MSD on April sixteen and physically inspected the stocks.

He added that the firm had committed to update the stock, as communicated by means of the officials of the involved programme.

Published in Dawn, July fifteenth, 2019

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