iconimg Monday, May 25, 2015

Navrajdeep Singh , Hindustan Times
Patiala, September 27, 2013
With high level inquiry regarding purchase of substandard raw materials for ayurvedic medicines delayed for past two years, the former medical superintendent of Government Ayurvedic Pharmacy and Stores in Patiala has written a letter to Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal to stop manufacturing medicines in the pharmacy immediately.

Former MS Dr Shivraj Singh was in charge when the scam was unearthed in 2011, cited reasons for serious threats to lives of people in the state after consuming medicines manufactured with substandard herbs found then.

"The drug store, which was sealed then, was opened after health department claimed that in 23 drugs substandard were found out of collected 124 samples of drugs after Pharmacopoeial Laboratory for Indian Medicine, (PLIM) Ghaziabad submitted its report to the department", Dr Singh said.

"There was no good storage practices (GSP), which is mandatory for a good manufacturing practice (GMP) unit or any ayurvedic pharmacy in India. The quality of these raw drugs has been reduced to their lowest level due to their prolong and unscientific storage,"he said.

Dr Singh added said earlier, even though 'sitopladi churun' was found substandard at government drug testing laboratory, 2700 kg of it was supplied to state-run ayurvedic dispensaries and hospital.

"The issue was brought to the notice of higher authorities of the department but no action has been initiated yet,"he said.

He also alleged that health department had presented concocted facts of the reports based on identity, purity and strength of the drugs.

"Analysis report procured under RTI Act by activist Jeet Singh revealed that only 26 samples of these raw drugs are found of standard quality while the other were not up to standard limits,"he said.

Case history

The scam got highlighted after Kulwant Singh, former sarpanch of Ballan village in Sanour block complained directly to the CM about selling low quality herbs and readymade medicines by ayurveda department.

The spurious medicines were purchased from the funds provided under National Rural Health Mission of `81.5-lakh and `98.7-lakh.

It was also found that agmark honey, which was bought for `278 per kg then, was available in the market for `130 per kg, while 500 kg of atees meetha was purchased by the department for `3,000 per kg against actual price of `1,000 per kg.

Questions were also raised about quality of sesame oil, which was purchased at much lower rate than actual price.

Following this, former health minister Satpal Gosain constituted four-member committee to investigate into the matter but the committee yet to submit its report.