The Punjab government has taken the decision to impose a two-week ban on the sale and usage of a locally manufactured injection known as “Avastin.”
This action was taken in response to reports of several patients in the province experiencing vision loss allegedly due to the administration of this injection.
The ban will remain in effect until quality checks are conducted to ensure the safety of the product.
To address this concerning situation, the Punjab government established a five-member committee. Dr. Asad Aslam Khan, from King Edward Medical University, has been appointed as the convener of this committee.
Other members include Muhammad Sohail, Director General Drugs Control, Dr. Muhammad Moin from Mayo Hospital, Dr. Tayyaba from Lahore General Hospital, and Prof. Dr. Mohsin from Services Hospital.
Their primary responsibility is to investigate the cases of patients who suffered vision loss after receiving the Avastin injection at various hospitals in the province.
It has been reported that diabetic patients in Lahore, Kasur, and Jhang districts received Avastin injections to address retinal damage.
However, these injections resulted in severe infections, ultimately leading to the loss of eyesight in approximately 12 patients, including the brother of senior PPP leader Chaudhry Manzoor and his friend.
Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi took to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to announce that a crucial meeting had been held with the health department and doctors to address the cases of Avastin-related blindness.
As part of the action plan devised, “immediate strict action” would be taken against drug inspectors responsible for allowing the availability of non-sterile injections, pending a thorough inquiry.
The injection in question has been recalled from the market, as confirmed by caretaker Health Minister Dr. Nadeem Jan. Additionally, a case has been registered against the suppliers of this injection.
Dr. Jan provided this information during a media briefing in Islamabad, where he was joined by Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare, Dr. Jamal Nasir. Reports concerning the problematic injections have come from multiple regions, including Multan, Kasur, Lahore, and Sadiqabad.