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Former PIC head, others responsible for stent fraud: FIA

Tells LHC consultants, internal auditors found involved in glaring irregularities, negligence

The Federal Investigation Agency informed the Lahore High Court that a former head of Punjab Institute of Cardiology, catheterization lab (cath) officials, chief pharmacist, consultants and internal auditors were involved in the matter of fake stents.

Justice Shahid Waheed of the LHC was hearing the case and made the report of FIA and police part of his written order. In the report, the FIA observed that former PIC head Saqib Shafi, cath lab officials and others, including the chief pharmacist, consultants and internal auditors were involved in glaring irregularities, grave negligence.

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The petitioner, who had questioned the use of fake stents at PIC, however, sought time to examine the report submitted by the agency, which the court allowed. A law officer representing the Punjab government assured the court that the authorities concerned have started disciplinary action against the officials involved in the heinous crime under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act, 2006 (PEEDA).

According to the report submitted by the law officer, the inquiry officer would submit a report and recommendations to the secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department within sixty days. The court directed the provincial inspector of drugs to appear in person and explain as to what steps were taken by the department under his control.

The CCPO Lahore also appeared before the court and submitted that the matter did not fall under the jurisdiction of the police and said that the complaint moved by the petitioner was sent to the Additional Secretary Drugs Control. The issue of expired stents surfaced when the DMS (stores) of the PIC in a letter addressed to the medical superintendent said that expired stents had been inserted into several cardiac patients. The PIC also constituted a committee to probe into the scam.

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A senior medical officer also wrote a letter to PIC MS to constitute an Enquiry Committee to probe the matter of irrefutable placement of expired coronary stents, resolute onyx in main cath lab. Senior Medical Officer Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Aslam, in his application, had revealed a stock of expired, near expiry and irrefutable coronary stents at Punjab Institute of Cardiology.

Dr. Aslam asked the PIC MS to immediately constitute a committee to investigate the matter so that the responsibility could be fixed and legal action could be taken against them for their gross negligence. However, no inquiry committee has been formed so far.



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