Chhattisgarh sterilisation deaths: Rodenticide zinc phosphide found in medicines

After 13 women passed away in a botched up sterilisation programme in Chhattisgarh, a preliminary enquiry has revealed that the medicines used during the procedure could have been contaminated with zinc phosphide, widely used as rodenticide and perhaps could be the cause of death of the victims.

"Confirming these findings, Commission Bilaspur Division, Sonmani Borah, said traces of zinc phosphide have been found in Ciprocin 500mg tablets, manufactured by Mahawar Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd. These tablets were distributed to all the women who underwent sterilizations at the three health camps - Takhatpur, Pendra and Marwahi - in Bilaspur district on last Saturday and Monday"— said a Times of India report.

 Chhattisgarh sterilisation deaths: Rodenticide zinc phosphide found in medicines

RK Gupta, the doctor who conducted 83 sterilisation surgeries at the government-organised family planning camp, in police custody in Bilaspur on Thursday. PTI

"It reacts with water and stomach juices to release phosphine gas which can enter the blood stream and adversely affects the lungs, liver, kidneys, heart and central nervous system," experts told the daily. Zinc phosphide is usually mixed with food and commonly used to kill rodents

On Friday, the director of a drug company, which allegedly supplied sub-standard medicines that were administered to the victims of sterilisation surgeries in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district and his son were arrested.

"Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd's director Ramesh Mahawar and his son Sumit have been arrested under section 420 for cheating, based on a complaint lodged by Food and Drug Administration authorities," Raipur Superintendent of Police OP Pal told PTI.

The FDA had on Thursday conducted a raid and sealed a manufacturing unit of the company which supplied an antibiotic drug used at sterilisation camps in Bilaspur district where 13 women died and nearly 138 fell ill.

After preliminary examination of the samples of the medicines collected from the pharmaceutical unit, Drug Inspector Tripti Jain lodged a case against the promoters on Thursday night following which the action was taken.

The FDA has suspended sale and supply of products of the company across the state and directives have been issued to chemists and drug suppliers in this connection.

During the raid, a significant quantity of drugs were found burnt at the premises of Mahawar Pharma and a detailed report in this connection will be given to higher authorities, official sources in the drugs control department had said.

Notably, the department had on Wednesday conducted a raid at a unit of Kavita Pharmaceuticals in Bilaspur, which had also allegedly supplied some medicines to the sterilisation camps in the district, and collected samples of drugs from there for testing.

Chhattisgarh has already suspended the sale of six drugs used in tubectomy surgeries at separate government-organised sterilisation camps recently in Bilaspur.

Under attack over botched sterilisation surgeries, Chief Minister Raman Singh had on Thursday announced a judicial probe into the incidents.

Laparoscopic surgeon RK Gupta of Bilaspur district hospital, who performed tubectomy procedures on 83 women at a camp at Pendari village in a matter of few hours, was arrested on Wednesday.

Gupta and Bilaspur's chief medical and health officer RK Bhange were later dismissed from service by the state government.

Besides, the government had suspended State Programme Convener, family planning, KC Urao and Block Medical Officer, Takhatpur, Pramod Tiwari and transferred Director Health Services Kamalpreet Singh.

With PTI input

Updated Date: Nov 15, 2014 20:52:15 IST