x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pakistan shuts pharmaceutical factory after heart patient deaths

The factory was closed, at least temporarily, after a London laboratory appeared to find Isotab responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people in a hospital of the country's most populous Punjab province.

KARACHI // Pakistan closed a pharmaceutical factory accused of manufacturing medicine suspected to have killed more than 100 heart patients, an official said yesterday.

"We recovered raw material weighing 48 kilograms used for the medicine Isotab from the Efroze Chemicals factory and sealed it for 14 days on Wednesday," said Akbar Baloch from the Federal Investigation Agency.

The factory was closed, at least temporarily, after a London laboratory appeared to find Isotab responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people in a hospital of the country's most populous Punjab province.

Punjab's chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, said on Wednesday that the drug had been contaminated with an antimalarial chemical.

The drug was manufactured by Efroze Chemicals, a factory in Karachi.

"The raw material has been seized and the factory's operations have been suspended under the drugs act," Mr Baloch said.

He said arrests could be made after the drug inspectors file their reports about the fresh samples they had taken during the swoop.

A government official said all hospitals in Sindh have been alerted.

"Necessary guidelines have been sent to all the hospitals about the use [of drugs]," said a senior health ministry official.