Batch of anaesthetic withdrawn from Chandigarh pharmacies after 5 PGI deaths
Chandigarh: The health authorities pulled the anaesthetic medicine Propofol injection from the hospitals and pharmacies in Chandigarh on Tuesday amid allegations that it contributed to five deaths last week at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).This was followed by the revelation that five patients who had to have orthopaedic and neurological surgery...
Chandigarh: The health authorities pulled the anaesthetic medicine Propofol injection from the hospitals and pharmacies in Chandigarh on Tuesday amid allegations that it contributed to five deaths last week at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).
This was followed by the revelation that five patients who had to have orthopaedic and neurological surgery are suspected of passing away after receiving the naesthetic medicine Propofol injection. When discussing the causes of deaths, doctors discovered that propofol injection was the common thread to investigate the patients' demise. The injections were brought from a private pharmacy located inside the institute's emergency building.
In addition to seizing the four remaining injections that were still in stock at the hospital's pharmacy, the UT Administration has instructed the drug's distributor to ensure that injections from the specific batch are not marketed or used in the city, in accordance with the report published in The Tribune.
Propofol is a sedative-hypnotic agent for use in the induction and maintenance of anesthesia or sedation. Intravenous injection of a therapeutic dose of propofol produces hypnosis rapidly with minimal excitation, usually within 40 seconds from the start of an injection (the time for one arm-brain circulation). The action of propofol involves a positive modulation of the inhibitory function of the neurotransmitter gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) through GABA-A receptors.
According to sources cited by The Indian Express, on September 1, two department heads alerted the medical superintendent to a situation involving unexplained hypotension (low BP) in the intra-operative period (during surgery) with anuria (decrease in urine output) and/or jaundice in the postoperative period in a few patients over the previous few days at the PGI.
In line with the above unfortunate incidences, a high-level committee headed by Prof. S. K. Gupta, head of the Department of Neurosurgery, was appointed by the Director of PGI to investigate these untoward occurrences.
Reportedly, the PGI committee has attended two meetings already and will soon release a report on its conclusions. PGI asserts that the necessary steps will be done in accordance with the judgments made based on the anticipated reports from all perspectives.
Regarding the aforementioned tragic incident, a senior PGI physician who is a member of the committee looking into adverse events told The Tribune that they are not claiming that the cause of death was only attributable to a specific anaesthetic because other aspects are also being looked into. The medication has also frequently been utilised in surgical procedures in the past. After thorough inquiry, the committee will submit its report.
Regarding this, Dr. Suman Singh stated that samples from the pharmacy in the main emergency department of the institute were taken and sent for testing by a joint team of drug inspectors from UT Chandigarh and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), as reported in the Indian Express.
Furthermore, the case has also been properly forwarded to the Drug Controller, UT, and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), Baddi, and their reports are also awaited.
Subsequently, in regards to the aforementioned topic, UT Health Secretary Yashpal Garg noted that, though the actual cause of death of the five people is not yet ascertained, a joint team of drug inspectors from UT Chandigarh and the CDSCO has taken samples from the pharmacy from where the drug was purchased by patients' attendants. The samples are being sent for testing, the results of which will take around four weeks.
Additionally, UT Health Secretary Yashpal Garg went on to say that Chandigarh's pharmacies and hospitals have discontinued carrying the four shots of Propofol that were part of the same batch of anaesthetic removed from UT pharmacies' inoculations. None of the pharmacies in Chandigarh have any more injections from the specific batch available. Additionally, the drug's distributor in Panchkula has been informed to make sure the same batch of injections is not sold or used until reports of the samples and an investigation have been submitted.
Susmita Roy, Bpharm, Mpharm Pharmacology, graduated from Gurunanak Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology with a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. She holds a master ’s degree in pharmacology. She is currently employed at Haldia Institute of Pharmacy as an assistant professor. She has been a part of Medical Dialogue since March 2021. She can be contacted at email@example.com