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Scare at Verna ESIC dispensary over ‘substandard’ antibiotic

Vasco: Fear of supply of substandard medicines gripped some patients who visited the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) dispensary at Verna with parent of a child complaining about receiving powdered antibiotic consisting of clumps and crystals.

The incident allegedly came to light with parents of a kid finding some clumps and crystals formed inside the bottle triggering fear in the patients at the dispensary. A parent, on condition of anonymity, said that other patients have also found some crystal substance inside the bottle.

However, in-charge of the dispensary Dr Manuelinha Faleiro said that she has not received any complaint about substandard medicines disbursed to the ESIC beneficiaries from Verna dispensary. She said that they take utmost care while providing medicines to the dispensaries from the central store of the ESIC office based at Patto-Panaji.

The purchase head of medicines of ESIC (Patto-Panaji) Dr Anil Chauhan ruled out distributing substandard medicines to the patients at ESIC dispensaries. He said that the said antibiotic comes in power form and is packed in thick plastic bottles with the patient having to add water and make a suspension for use. He further said that the powder might have got aggregated due to moisture owing to monsoon and clumps and crystals formed inside.

“We even received complaints from Vasco and from other ESIC dispensaries stating that part of the medicine inside the bottle got oxidised and turned light brown in colour,” stated Dr Chauhan. He however disclosed that it does not mean that it has expired or the quality is poor.

“None of my patients at Panaji dispensary have complained about the medicine. One can apply or pass on sample by visiting the dispensary about any complaint against the medicines. The samples will be forwarded to the FDA for testing,” informed Dr Chauhan.

“I’ll contact our pharmacist in Verna and ask him to bring the remaining bottles to us in order to send them for testing to FDA so that FDA which is the final authority will give us clarification, whether the medicine is fit for consumption or not,” said Dr Chauhan.

He said that no such problem of forming of clumps and crystals has come to light in other medicines. “There is a separate department which looks after NSQ (not of standard quality). Whenever we have any doubts, the pharmaceutical company is forced to take back the medicine and asked to refund to the government,” informed Dr Chauhan. [NT]

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