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Sunday June 16, 2024

Two suspects linked to sight impairing injections arrested

Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi says names of influential personalities revealed in eye injection scandal

By Ahmed Faraz
September 27, 2023
A doctor is checking the eyes of an old woman. — AFP/File
A doctor is checking the eyes of an old woman. — AFP/File 

LAHORE: Police have arrested two men allegedly involved in production and supply of substandard injections days after the shocking case of vision impairment caused by the eye jabs in 40 diabetic patients surfaced in Lahore.

Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi revealed the development linked to the case during media talk in the provincial capital on Wednesday.

He revealed that the names of some influential personalities have come to the fore in connection to the scandal.

"Leniency will be shown to no one," the provincial chief executive said while vowing to take action without coming under anyone's pressure.

Later, Model Town Superintendent of Police (SP) Ammara Sherazi also confirmed the arrests and said that the suspects had been running a "cancer care centre" at a private hospital in the Faisal Town area of the provincial capital, where they manufactured the hazardous drug.

While addressing a press conference in Lahore, she said that the suspects prepared 83 doses from a single vial of the said injection and supplied these doses in Lahore and other districts of Punjab.

The two suspects, namely Bilal Rasheed who was arrested from the Arif Wala area and Asim who was taken into custody from Faisalabad, SP Sherazi said, adding that their accountant, Khurram Aziz, was also held from the facility.

She also said that so far cases of vision impairment have been reported from Lahore, Nankana Sahib and Kasoor.

Investigation from the arrested suspects is underway, she added.

Earlier, the police said that a case had been registered against two men involved in the matter of counterfeit injections, who belong to Vehari. They said that the nominated suspects were the same individuals who supplied the drug to private hospitals in Multan.

The shocking incident of affected eyesight of as many as 40 diabetes patients following the administration of substandard injections in their eyeballs surfaced on Saturday.

Cases of vision impairment were also reported in other cities of Punjab including Multan, a day after the matter of counterfeit injections came to the fore.

On Sunday, Punjab caretaker Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Nasir Jamal said that the margin of profit for this medicine is very high as one injection was being sold for Rs100,000.

Meanwhile, Caretaker Federal Health Minister Nadeem Jan said that a committee of five people had been formed to look into what had led to vision impairment of the victims.

Later, the provincial caretaker government imposed a two-week ban on Avastin’s sales and usage for ophthalmology-related treatments, until quality check results were obtained.

Naqvi vowed that immediate strict action would be taken against drug inspectors responsible for the availability of non-sterile injections with a pending inquiry. He said that the government would form a high-powered inquiry team for swift investigation.