28. November 2011 10:08
Eleven persons contracted meningitis in three government run hospitals in Mumbai after being administered Bupivacaine, according to a report in Mid Day. Reacting to the story, the Food and Drug Administration undertook an inspection of the manufacturing plant of Ciron Pharmaceuticals, from where the hospitals received the drug.
Doctors at the hospitals said had reservations about administering the anesthetic and did so against their better judgment, they claimed. They claimed they had received a notification from a higher authority asking them to dispense the drug from hospital stocks instead of procuring them from pharmacies elsewhere.
The story goes back further, to two cases of meningitis in Sion hospital, suspected to be linked to Bupivacaine. Doctors alerted the FDA, which tested the drug and gave it a clean chit. However, following this, Sion, Bhabha and KEM hospitals reported cases of post spinal meningitis. In the light of such a development, the use of the drug should have been immediately stopped, notwithstanding the clean chit from the FDA, doctors interviewed opined.
In addition to its investigation of Ciron Pharmaceuticals, the FDA is collecting samples of Bupivacaine from the concerned hospitals for testing. K. B. Shende, joint commissioner, FDA (drugs), said a fresh enquiry has begun to investigate “… all possible causes of infection as well as contamination."