Spurious Drugs: J&K Minister Exonerates Self

Spurious Drugs: J&K Minister Exonerates Self

19 April 2013
Times of India
M. Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Public Health Engineering, irrigation and flood control minister Sham Lal Sharma on Friday refuted all allegations levelled against him over the supply of spurious drugs to hospitals, saying a minister has a limited role in departmental purchases. The former health minister said all purchases were made by the committees constituted for the purpose. Sharma told the media in Jammu that vested interests had started a vilification campaign against him and were trying to tarnish his public image. He said the groups had been irked by the several reformative steps - particularly, the drug policy and random lab tests of medical drugs - he had taken in the past. He said it was possible that those affected adversely by the consequences of the drug policy were using the issue of fake drugs as a tool against him. He said a departmental inquiry had been ordered in the matter and the facts would be known soon. Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called a general strike across the Kashmir valley on Saturday over the supply of spurious drugs to pharmaceutical shops and government hospitals. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, has also joined the protest. The Doctors' Association of Kashmir has already filed a petition in the state high court, seeking inquiry into the sale of counterfeit drugs. Dr Nirsar-ul-Hassan, the president of the association, said the government was supplying the spurious antibiotic injection Curecef (Ceftraxone) to hospitals in the Kashmir valley even after the drug had failed analytical testing. 'This drug was tested at least three times, and in 2011 as well, and failed each time, but the report was never made public,' he said.