Thirty-two patients at Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district have complained of pain and swelling in eyes after being treated at a private hospital for diabetic retinopathy with Avastin, a Roche-made drug whose sale has been put on hold in Gujarat and Telangana after reports of partial loss of eyesight.
The country’s apex drug regulator had ordered state drug controllers to collect samples of the drug for testing from the across the country after use of Avastin reportedly led to partial loss of eyesight in 15 patients in Gujarat.
Dr BK Jain, the Director of Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya in Chitrakoot, a town in Satna, said patients for diabetic retinopathy were given Avastin injections on December 29 after which some of them complained of burning sensation and swelling.
“Nobody has lost vision. It was just a mild reaction and as such there is no need to panic. I told the Collector that he should send a team of experts to investigate the matter and see for himself how we operate here,” said Jain.
Though doctors around the globe use Avastin to treat vision loss, it has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for that purpose. Studies have shown that eye injections of Avastin check vision loss but the company does not claim to sell the drug for this specific purpose.
“We would like to highlight that Avastin has not been approved for intra-ocular use by the US FDA, EMA or the government of India. It is not developed and manufactured to meet intra-ocular standards. Adaptation of the product for use in this way is considered ‘off label’,” the company spokesperson had told HT.
The collector of Satna, Santosh Mishra said he had ordered an investigation into the incident.
“I have directed the chief medical and health officer to send a team of three experts to Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya to probe the incident and submit a report within four days. If some patients were affected post treatment, we will try our best to ensure that they get the best possible treatment,” he said.
The eye treatment scare is haunting the state for the third time in the last three months.
Earlier in January, 17 patients complained of blurry vision after being operated for cataract on November 27 in Sheopur district.
In November, at least 46 patients lost vision in one eye after they underwent a cataract surgery at a camp organised by the Barwani district hospital.
Sadguru hospital, a reputed charitable, said it sets high standards.
“We conduct 400 to 600 eye procedures daily. We maintain very high standards and have not received any complaint from anyone,” said the hospital director.