News archives

Tuberculosis Patient Administered Expired Medicine

2015-07-02 23:50

Rabindra Nath Saha


Santipur, July 2: An 83 year old tuberculosis patient from Nadia’s Santipur had fall ill as he was allegedly being administered with expired medicines by a specialized tuberculosis clinic of Santipur state general hospital.

The octogenarian, identified as Rabindra Nath Saha, a resident of Duttapara Netaji Lane in Santipur and a barber by profession who was diagnosed tuberculosis eight months ago and undergoing treatment through the ‘Directly Observed Therapy’ (DOT) under ‘Revised National Tuberculosis programme’ at the specialized clinic of Santipur hospital.

CMOH Nadia Tapas Kumar Roy said: "An inquiry committee has been set up, headed by district tuberculosis programme officer (DTPO). The committee will find out the persons responsible for the negligence and recommend action against them".

Super cum BMOH Dr. Samarjit Adhikary Samarjit Adhikary said: "None of the clinic staff informed him about the expired stock. The patient was also not careful"

DOT is a comprehensive curative method for tuberculosis patients recommended by World health organization. Under this programme the medicines are supplied by central government.

The fact came to light on Monday evening after the patient had fallen ill.

On Monday, the elderly patient fell ill after he took the medicine. He started vomiting and fell unconscious. His sons took him to a private clinic for treatment. Later while examining the medicines which he had been taking, a doctor at the clinic noticed that the strips of the ‘Anti-TB Schedule 3’ tablets expired in the month of May.

“We were shocked to see that the tablets which were issued by the Tuberculosis Health Visitor' (THV)  of the DOT clinic were manufactured in May 2012 and efficacy period expired on May this year”, said Samir Saha, elder son of the patient.

He has lodged a complaint to the superintendant of Santipur state general hospital on Tuesday. On the basis of which, the block medical officer of health Samarjit Adhikary has ordered a probe.

A doctor at the Netaji Subhash Tuberculosis sanatorium in Kalyani said: “Consumption of expired medicine can become very fatal to a tuberculosis patient as it could develop drug resistant symptoms in the patient. Once a patient developed the drug resistant symptom, his condition becomes serious, for which WHO strongly recommends discarding of expired medicines”.

A little after lodging the complaint, a team of district health officials rushed to the house of the patient and apologized for the mistake and wanted to take the elderly man to the hospital, but his family members refused.

BMOH Samarjit Adhikary said: “This is quite unfortunate incident. We have started a probe into the matter. Strong action will be taken against the person who would be found guilty for such serious mistake”.

According to hospital sources the treatment process of the elderly patient has been completed. “However, the residual treatment is going on. In such cases, the patient has to visit the hospital at least once a week for medicine”, a doctor said.

Samir Saha, a barber by profession who runs a beauty saloon in the town said: I used to visit the DOT clinic where after Dr. Subrata Das generally visits the Tuberculosis patient. On the basis of his instruction pharmacist Somsubho Biswas issues medicine. This has become the practice and I never had any doubt in my mind about the medicines”.

“Receiving my complaints some health department officers came to our home to investigate the matter. They were also shocked to see the medicines were outdated. However, some of the officials were insisting me to withdraw the complaint. However, a senior officer apologized and wanted to take my father to hospital for treatment, we refused to oblige them as we have lost faith”, Samir said.

Meanwhile, a senior district health department official said: “this is a very serious mistake on the party of the Pharmacist of the DOT clinic who issued the medicines. He should have been careful enough and discarded the expired medicine in time. All the staff of under DOT programme are given special training and there is no scope one could forget it. The consumption of expired medicine aggravates spreading of drug resistance in patient so we always discourage patients to be careful enough while taking anti TB medicine”.

Somsubho Biswas, the Tuberculosis Health Visitor' (THV)

declined to comment on the allegation.

According to an estimate of Directorate general of health services, Ministry of health and family welfare (Government of India) every year 1.8 million persons in the country develop tuberculosis, of which about 8,00,000 are infectious. The disease has become a major barrier to social and economic development. Owing to this disease, an estimated 100 million workdays are lost every year.

In 2011, West Bengal identified 99829 persons who were diagnosed with tuberculosis. However, the disease has witnessed a declining trend in past few years, even though the trend is not uniform in all district.

Santipur DOT clinic at present has 20 enrolled tuberculosis patients.

Go back