PATNA: Medicines that failed quality tests were supplied by Bihar Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation Limited (BMSICL), the nodal agency to supply drugs and equipment to government hospitals in Bihar. BMSICL was established last year as part of second generation health reforms to remove bottlenecks in purchase and supply of drugs.
Sample this: Cefixime oral suspension (batch QA/239/2014) was declared substandard by Delhi’s ITL Labs Private Limited where it had been sent for tests by BMSICL. Hyderabad’s PRK Pharmanylysts declared another batch of this drug substandard in February this year.
But Cefixime of both these batches worth Rs eight lakh was supplied to Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital at Gaya, the government hospital at Rajendra Nagar in Patna and the offices of the civil surgeons of Bhojpur, Nalanda, Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, Darbhanga and Saran districts between February and April this year.
The drug is used to treat bacterial infection of ear, throat and sinus. If a patient takes substandard drug, the infection may turn chronic and drug resistant, say doctors.
Aminophylline (batch QA/833/2014) worth over Rs one lakh was supplied to the civil surgeons of Araria, Katihar, Kishanganj, Madhepura, Banka, Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Purnia, Seohar and Saran districts in April and May. This batch of Aminophylline was declared “not of standard quality” by Delhi’s Standard Analytical Laboratory in its report dated May 15, 2014. The drug is given to asthma and constructive pulmonary obstructive disease patients.
In May 2014, the Standard Analytical Laboratory also declared Cetrimide (batch QA/1041/2014) “not of standard quality” since the contents (Isopropyl alcohol and Cetrimide) were less than the claim made by the manufacturer. The same batch of Cetrimide worth over Rs one lakh had been supplied to Jalalgarh and Baisi hospitals in Purnia, the Kishanganj civil surgeon and the medical store at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College & Hospital at Bhagalpur in April this year. A pre-surgery lotion, Cetrimide is applied on the part of the body before incision to make it bacteria free.
Even children’s medicines of substandard quality were supplied to government healthcare facilities. Lab test reports found both the oral solution (batches QA/451/2014, QA/453/2014 and QA/482/2014) and tablets (batch number QA/195/2014) of Ondansetron “not of standard quality” in February and January this year respectively. The liquid form was supplied to the civil surgeons of Sheikhpura, Katihar, Kishanganj, Araria and Madhepura districts in February and March this year. The tablets of the batch were supplied to NMCH, PMCH and the civil surgeons of Bhojpur and Muzaffarpur districts in February and March this year. Ondansetron is an anti-emetic drug used to check vomiting. The total cost of this supply was over Rs 2 lakh.
Paracetamol (batch QA/379/2014) tablets, declared substandard by PRK Pharmanylysts in February 2014, were supplied to the civil surgeon of Bhojpur a month later in March this year. The cost of this supply was over Rs 13,000.
Not that all the hospitals silently received the supply and used the drugs. The Bhagalpur medical college superintendent wrote to a BMSICL manager on June 17, stating the remaining stock of ?Lignocine HCL with Adrenaline Injection’ should be taken back by the corporation. “The reaction caused by the injection led to the death of a patient right on the operation table while another could be saved with much difficulty,” the letter read. This drug is a local anaesthetic.
At the time of supply, the pharma companies submit a test report of drugs on the basis of which the drugs are accepted and supplied. After this, the corporation too sends drugs for random testing. So far, only 16 batches have failed the test. The license of the firm that supplied anaesthetic to Bhagalpur medical college has been cancelled.
Praveen Kishore | MD, BMSICL