Survivors carry out a citzens’ raid on government hospitals and find sub-standard and expired drugs

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Bhopal ki Aawaaz

December 14, 2006
PRESS CONFERENCE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Addressing a press conference today representatives of four organisations working among the victims of the Union Carbide gas disaster and ground water contamination in Bhopal condemned the state government’s criminal neglect towards the medical care of the victims. Yesterday the organisations carried out a citizens’ raid on two medical stores of the gas relief department and found a large number of expired and substandard drugs. The activist leaders charged the MP government with causing deliberate harm to the people victimised by Union Carbide.
Of the 83 samples of medicines collected from the store, 30 were found to have crossed their expiry date. Many of these expired medicines were antibiotics such as Norfloxacin, Ampicillin and Tetracyclin and steroids such as Prednisolone that could cause serious damage to people’s health. More than half of the samples collected were of medicines manufactured in Indore which is notorious as the capital of spurious drug manufacturing in India.
According to the leaders three Indore firms: Cyano pharmaceuticals, Quest laboratories Private Ltd and Cipco Pharmaceuticals that are among the largest suppliers of drugs to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department have been found to be producing sub-standard drugs by the Drug Controller of Rajasthan this year. In fact two truck loads of medicines from Cyano and Cipco were being unloaded at the office of the Chief Medical Officer while the citizens’ raid took place.
The leaders said that they have been campaigning against the poor quality of medicines at hospitals meant for gas victims for many years but because of the rampant corruption in the state government the issue remains unresolved. They charged that the Minister of Gas Relief and senior officials of the department are paid heavy commissions by spurious drug manufacturers. They pointed out that the issue of poor quality medicines was placed before the Supreme court by the Monitoring Committee in October 2005, and that the Committee had recommended that random samples of medicines should be taken and sent for testing at reputed labs. According to the activist leaders the state government has not so far sent any medicines samples for quality testing.
On October 5, 2006 the representatives of the four survivors’ organisations presented the problems of poor quality medicines at the meeting of the Coordination Committee on Bhopal (CCB) that has been set up following directions from the Prime Minister. At the meeting of the CCB the representatives presented a list of 22 medicines from the medical store of Khan Shakir Ali Khan hospital out of which 16 were made in Indore. A Secretary of the MP government, the Director of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation and the Chief Medical Officer (Gas Relief) who were present at the meeting agreed to take action on the matter.
The leaders of the four organisations stated that they will go on an indefinite fast to pressure the state government on issues of medical care, employment, social rehabilitation and environmental remediation. According to the leaders the fast will be for a new beginning in relief and rehabilitation of Union Carbide’s victims in the New Year.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
93031 32959
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
98261 82226
Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369
Contact : ICJB Office, House No. 60, Near Cold Storage, Union Carbide Road, Chhola, Bhopal
Please visit www.bhopal.net for more information on the campaign for justice in Bhopal

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