Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 18:
The killer antibiotic tablet Ciprocin-500, adulterated with zinc phosphide, a chemical used in rat poison, that killed 16 women in Chhattisgarh, is being sold with impunity in most medicine outlets in Odisha. But the state government does not appear to be too concerned about it.
The unhindered sale of Ciprocin 500 was revealed by an employee of the Raipur-based pharmaceutical company Mahawar Pharma, manufacturer of the tablets, during interrogation by Chhattisgarh police on Monday.
Chhattisgarh police, after seizing the drugs and sealing the plant premises in Raipur, have sent the drug to the Central Drug Testing Laboratory in Kolkata for further tests.
However, the police, during interrogation, have come to know that the company, before being sealed, had distributed thousands of cartons of this spurious drug in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Sources said as the company offers nearly 80 percent profit margin on slae of this tablet, medicine shop owners in Odisha have been selling it in huge quantity.
While the company sells a strip of Ciprocin-500 containing 10 tablets at prices ranging from Rs 12 to Rs 30 to the medicine shop owners, the latter sell it to the customers at Rs 60 a strip.
Even when doctors prescribe Ciprofloxacin-500 manufactured by another company, these medicine shop ownerspush sell Ciprocin-500 tablets to the patients assuring them that these tablets have the same components as Ciprofloxacin-500.
When asked about the matter, secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Arati Ahuja claimed that these tablets of Mahawar Pharma have not been procured for any government hospitals in the state.
Admitting that she has no knowledge about the volume of sale of these tablets in the medicine outlets in the state, the secretary said the Drugs Controller has been asked to conduct search operations on all medicine outlets in the state.
The Health department has not taken any steps to create awareness on the killer effects of Ciprocin-500 tablets nor has it sent any notice or information about this to any government and private hospital authorities and the medicine shop owners, sources said.
An investigation by ‘Sambad’ has revealed that most of the doctors and medicine shop owners in Odisha are unaware of the death of 16 women in Chhattisgarh after they were administered Ciprocin-500 tablets after sterilization.