Sterilisation tragedy: Drugs contained rat poison; Pharma company was blacklisted two years ago

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Raipur, Nov 14: Primary investigation by agencies probing the botched sterilisation surgeries in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district, which claimed lives of 13 women, has revealed that the medicines given to the women contained zinc phosphide, a chemical used for making rat poison.

As per a TOI report, Bilaspur divisional commissioner Sonmani Borah said traces of zinc phosphide were found in Ciprocin 500mg tablets, manufactured by Mahavar Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd. Mahawar Pharma allegedly supplied sub-standard medicines that were administered to the victims of sterilisation surgeries.

Mahawar Pharma allegedly supplied sub-standard medicines that were administered to the victims of sterilisation surgeries.
Earlier on Friday, the director of a drug company and his son were arrested. "Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd's director Ramesh Mahwar and his son Sumit have been arrested under section 420 for cheating, based on a complaint lodged by Food and Drug Administration authorities," Raipur Superintendent of Police OP Pal told.

The FDA had on Thursday conducted a raid and sealed a manufacturing unit of the company which supplied an antibiotic drug used at sterilisation camps where 13 women died and nearly 138 fell ill.

After preliminary examination of the samples of the medicines collected from the pharmaceutical unit, Drug Inspector Tripti Jain lodged a case against the promoters following which the action was taken.
The FDA has suspended sale and supply of products of the company across the state and directives have been issued to chemists and drug suppliers in this connection.

During the raid, a significant quantity of drugs were found burnt at the premises of Mahawar Pharma and a detailed report in this connection will be given to higher authorities, official sources in the drugs control department had said.

As per an Indian Express report, on March 21, 2012, Chhattisgarh's Health Minister Amar Agarwal had informed the State Assembly that the company had been found guilty of selling "duplicate generic drugs" and that "a case was registered against it on February 2, 2012 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Raipur."

Apart from the police case, records reveal that seven medicines supplied by this company had been banned by the state government for various reasons over different periods of time. Yet, the state government continued to purchase drugs from the company which also owns a small factory operating from a residential colony of Raipur without even a signboard, said the report.

When asked about why the medicines from a blacklisted company were bought Agarwal said that the drugs were purchased by a local official "at his individual level".

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