Peshawar: Anti-Corruption Police get 2-day remand of officials
PESHAWAR: A local court on Thursday granted two–day physical remand of director general Health Services, chief of the provincial hepatitis control programme and an assistant junior clerk to the Anti–Corruption Police for further interrogation in charges of purchase of substandard hepatitis-C injections and vaccines worth Rs150 million. The Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa Anti–Corruption Establishment (ACE) on Wednesday arrested Director General Health Services Dr Mohammad Sharif, chief of the provincial hepatitis control programme Dr Ghulam Subhani and assistant junior clerk Mubarak Shah.
The ACE officials on Thursday produced the accused in the court of Judicial Magistrate Mohsin Abbas and requested for physical remand of the arrested officials. The judge gave two days physical remand of the Health Department officials to the ACE.
The Anti–Corruption police charged the officials under section 409, 419, 420, 468, 471, 120–B, 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 5/2 of the Prevention of Corruption Drug Act.
The officials were accused of purchasing of 1.6 million substandard interferon vials wroth around Rs150 million for onward distribution in different hospitals of the province for hepatitis-C patients.
They said Dr Ghulam Subhani, who was recently transferred to the Lady Reading Hospital as deputy medical superintendent (administration), purchased the substandard drugs.
The report of the inquiry conducted by the provincial health department shows that a total of 1,906,229 interferon injections were purchased under the 2009–10 to 2011–12 Annual Development Programme. As per stock register entries, 1,133,998 vials were issued by the project director to various districts. The remaining 772,002 vials are missing.
Interferon vial purchased under the Benazir Health Support Programme stand at 1,698,997. The number of vials issued to various districts by the project director, as per stock register entries, is 962,280 and as of February 15, 2013 the missing vials stand at 736,967. All in all, 1,508,699 interferon vials are still unaccounted for.
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) ordered the ACE to probe as to whether any patients had died as a result of being administered subpar interferon. The ACE has seized all existing stocks of the drug in hospitals.
On February 6, the PHC took suo moto notice of substandard interferon injections supplied to government-run hospitals to cure HCV. ACE Director Syed Fayyaz Ali Shah submitted the preliminary inquiry report on March 13 and revealed that it might have caused around six lives.