LAHORE - Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed that 12 more counters be immediately set up for the convenience of patients at Punjab Institute of Cardiology. Presiding over a meeting to review the situation arising due to substandard medicines at Chief Minister’s Secretariat here on Sunday, he said every human life was dear to him and provision of best medical facilities to the patients had been ensured.

Members Provincial Assembly Dr Saeed Elahi, Dr Asad Ashraf, Khawaja Salman Rafiq, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning and Development, acting Secretary Health, senior doctors and concerned officers attended the meeting. The meeting reviewed in detail the treatment of patients affected by the sub-standard medicines and other matters.

Shahbaz Sharif directed that on the pattern of Lahore, distribution of financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the heirs of each deceased patient in the light of the recommendations of the committee determining the deaths in other districts be immediately started as well.

Addressing the meeting, he said a request had already been made to the Lahore High Court for holding a judicial inquiry to fix responsibility for the deaths caused by the use of medicines of Punjab Institute of Cardiology. He said all administrative departments had also been directed to fully assist the high court in this regard.

The CM said steps had been taken on war footing for overcoming the situation caused by substandard medicines and five special zones had also been set up in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Lahore for looking after the patients. He said everyone was shocked over the loss of precious lives and the government fully shared the grief of those who had lost their near and dear ones.

He reiterated that whosoever was found involved in the light of the inquiry report, would be awarded exemplary punishment. While directing to improve the hygienic situation in the hospitals, the CM asked the Members Provincial Assembly to visit hospitals and personally review cleanliness conditions and medical facilities being provided to the patients.

Earlier, the chief minister was informed about the details regarding patients affected due to substandard medicines in the province and provision of treatment facilities to them. The meeting was informed that as many as 323 patients had recovered and discharged from various hospitals. It was further informed 13 counters were already working in the PIC for the patients and on the directions of the CM further counters were being set up.

Lahore Commissioner informed the meeting that more than Rs one crore had been distributed among 357 patients affected by the substandard medicines in various hospitals for meeting their food and other expenses.

He said distribution of cheques among the heirs of deceased patients had been started.