Probe into reuse of disposable material, purchase of substandard devices by PIC.

LAHORE -- The Punjab health secretary has constituted a team to probe into alleged reuse of disposable material and procurement of 'substandard medical devices' used on cardiac patients by the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC).

The issue surfaced when a team of the health department headed by Data Ganj Bakhsh Town drug inspector conducted a raid on the complaint of the PIC additional medical superintendent (AMS) and seized substandard equipment and disposable material.

The institute has been under scrutiny for different scams in the past, including use of substandard medical devices (stents), adulterated drugs and alleged embezzlement in the procurement process.

Talking about the fresh episode, an official said a couple of days back the AMS (Pharmacy) complained to the drug controller office about alleged reuse of newly-procured disposable tubes at the PIC.

He said the PIC had recently signed an agreement with another company M/s Universal Enterprisers for the purchase of 600 small and adult oxygenators with tubes, a device that removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen to the blood during critical surgeries, through an institutional tendering process.

Health secy forms five-member panel to investigate issue

Medical experts say the oxygenators are used in every cardiac procedure.

The official, seeking anonymity, said the PIC administration initially tried to cover up the matter when complaints of reuse of the disposable tubes surfaced, and acted only when the health authorities got wind of it.

Sensing seriousness of the issue, the PIC formed a five-member committee to probe into the matter at the institutional level. It was headed by Professor of Cardiology Dr Ahmad Shahbaz.

The committee comprised Assistant Professor Dr Syed Imranul Hassan, AMS (admin) Dr Sagheer Ahmad Baloch, In Charge Emergency Dr Amir Rafique and pharmacist Sidra Sarwar.

However, dissatisfied with the action initiated by the PIC to probe the matter, the health secretary constituted a separate high-powered five-member inquiry panel to investigate the issue.

Headed by the additional secretary (procurement), the panel comprised professor of cardiac surgery Dr Tayyab Pasha, two deputy secretaries of procurement and establishment and a contract manager of the health department.

'According to the terms of references (TORs), the committee shall probe the reuse of oxygenators in PIC,' reads the notification (a copy is also available with Dawn).

It further stated that the...

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