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Civic authorities deny drugs scam at hospitals

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) on Wednesday stated before the Bombay High Court that the civic hospitals took all the necessary steps after a drug reaction was detected among two pregnant women in August after being administered certain injections.

The expiry date of these injections had passed. “The medicines and batch number were identified and thereafter the drugs were pulled out from the stock and all the civic hospitals were alerted not to use them,” said the affidavit filed by Dr Vidya Thakur, medical superintendent of a civic hospital.

Former journalist Ketan Tirodkar has filed a public interest litigation alleging that civic hospitals were using sub-standard medicines in collusion with suppliers. However, denying that there was any scam, Dr Thakur said the medicine Iron Dextran had caused reaction in the two women, according to preliminary findings.

She further said that adverse reaction to a drug is an undesired and unavoidable side-effect that can be observed after administration of any medicine. Most of the medicines being chemical and biological products, it is body’s natural reaction to reject its entry into the body, she said.

While the affidavit said that Food and Drugs Administration’s report on this medicine was still awaited, Tirodkar said he had got hold of an FDA report which says that MCGM health officials were hand in glove with drug suppliers, which made use of outdated injections possible.

The bench headed by Justice P V Hardas gave him four weeks to produce a copy of this report and adjourned the hearing. On August 18, adverse reactions were reported after Caftriaxone and Cefotaxime injections were administered at the civic-run Bhabha Hospital.

Of the 45 patients, 28 with severe reactions, including a woman called Saira Shaikh, were moved to King Edward Memorial Hospital and Sion Hospital. Shaikh died within 24 hours of the reaction.

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