In a shocking incident, staff at SMHS hospital here today detected that antibiotic injections had been packed and supplied as anti-viral injections to the hospital by J&K Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL). Medical experts said administering antibiotics instead of antiviral and vice-versa could have serious effects on patients.
Soon after the "gross mistake" came to fore, the entire stock of 11400 injections supplied by JKMSCL was seized. An official said staff at drug store raised red flag when they found that a fresh consignment of injections was labeled as Acyclovir 250 mg on the carton and Ceftiazidime 1 gm on the individual vials.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Dr Parvaiz A Koul, professor of internal medicine at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) said, "If a grave error such as this takes place the consequences could be disastrous as it would mean the patient is not treated for a disease he or she is suffering from."
Another senior physician working in Government Medical College Srinagar (GMC), who wished anonymity, said that Acyclovir is administered to patients suffering from serious viral infections, including swelling of brain. "Now if we start giving antibiotics to a patient who has a life threatening viral disease, it can prove fatal at times," he said.
Medical superintendent SMHS Hospital, Dr Saleem Tak said that the entire supply had been lifted from the hospital and JKMSCL was intimated about it.
"This injection is not used very often in our hospital and today when we needed it for some patient, we discovered the error," he said.
However, general manager JKMSCL Dr Iqbal Ahmed Sofi said he was not in reciept of any communication regarding the mislabeled drugs at SMHS.
Following the incident, officials from Drug and Food Control Organisation also visited the hospital and seized the entire stock.
In-charge DFCO Kashmir division, Ulfat Amin, said that samples of the drug had been lifted and the supply frozen. "Our staff also inspected stock at other hospitals. We are in the process of compiling a report," she said.
Last year, in a similar incident, a JKMSCL supply of antibiotic injections was discovered to be steroid injections at GB Pant Children Hospital. An inquiry had been ordered by DFCO, report of which is yet to made public.
A source at hospital said that JKMSCL had more than once supplied drugs where there were discrepancies in batch number, labelling etc. "There is no quality, no consistency that JKMSCL had promised," he said.