Lahore: Interim Punjab Health Minister Dr. Javed Akram disclosed on Wednesday that two individuals were apprehended in connection with the Avastin injection scandal.
Dr. Javed Akram emphasized that there would be no leniency shown towards any suspects involved in the case.
The Avastin injection issue came to light when numerous diabetic patients in Lahore, Kasur, and Jhang districts were administered these injections to treat retinal damage, but instead, they developed severe infections. This alarming situation initially emerged with reported cases of adverse reactions to the drug in Kasur district.
The medical professionals revealed that the affected patients suffered from endophthalmitis, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the inner eye coatings, leading to vision loss.
The authorities reported that approximately 68 patients in the province experienced significant vision impairment since the scam came to light. In response, the Punjab government placed an indefinite ban on the use of the eye drug across the province and also launched a data collection portal to gather information on affected patients and provide them with necessary treatment.
A comprehensive investigation was currently underway to determine the key factors contributing to vision loss among patients who received the injection in Punjab.
During a media briefing on Wednesday, the provincial health minister informed journalists about the arrest of two suspects linked to the injection scam. He assured the public that the incident was being thoroughly investigated from all angles, with a commitment to bringing all those involved in the scam to justice.
Dr. Akram asserted that the Punjab government was not under any external pressure during this investigation. He further revealed that surgeries were performed on 15 out of the 68 affected patients, and authorities were dedicated to restoring the vision of these individuals. Besides it, all outlets selling the adulterated eye drug were sealed.
In a previous development, the Board of Commissioners of the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) instructed senior management to conduct special inspections of hospitals where cases of eye infections resulted from the administration of Avastin injections to patients.
These directives were issued during an emergency meeting of the PHC Board of Commissioners chaired by retired Justice Muhammad Bilal Khan. A representative of the PHC also provided an update on the meeting convened by both interim provincial health ministers, Prof. Javed Akram and Dr. Jamal Nasir.
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