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Expired medical stocks seized in Oman
April 23, 2017 | 10:05 PM
by Alya Al Harthy/[email protected]
Photo - @pacp_oman
 
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Muscat: More than 90,000 packs of medical supplies have been confiscated by consumer protection watchdogs after expiry dates were tampered with, the agency has revealed.



A medical supplies company with contracts all over Oman was found to be changing and extending expiry dates on sterilised medical equipment, the agency reported.

Thousands of packages of corrupted medical supplies were found and confiscated, according to The Public Authority for Consumer Protection.

The company in violation specialises in supplying hospitals and health centres around the Sultanate with medical and laboratory tools.


They were found to be manipulating the validity dates of their products and selling expired items.

The PACP co-ordinated with the Royal Oman Police and Public Prosecution to raid the business premises in order to collect evidence.

Asian workers at the facility were found to have adjusted the validity dates of 91,551 packages of various tools.

This was in violation to the Consumer Protection Law, Article (7), which prohibits the circulation of counterfeit, corrupt, or unauthorised goods.

“According to reports by specialists, sterilised materials may cause infections to patients due to the expiry of the sterilisation period,” the PACP said. “For materials with plastic parts such as breathing pipes, changes in plastic properties contribute to the growth of bacteria, and can cause inflammation with patients,” they added.

“The use of expired chemical solutions can cause the wrong diagnosis, and result in the incorrect treatment of patients.

This may therefore affect the health of the patient, and worsen their health status at the very least.” “Expired equipment may result in deadlier consequences.

Expired materials may not be used because they no longer serve the purpose for which they were manufactured, and this could severely affect public health.”

The General Authority for Consumer Protection stresses the importance of providers’ compliance with regulations and laws, and the observance of health and safety requirements.

The PACP also calls for the need to cooperate in reporting such practices in order to guarantee a safe and secure market. Dr. Rohil Raghavan, Medical Director of Burjeel Hospital in Oman, explained hospital protocol regarding expiry dates of equipment and medicine.

“Every hospital has a policy of having an internal audit, whereby they keep checking the stock of when things are getting expired, and which have to be removed one month prior to their date of expiry.”

“If someone has committed this act of falsifying expiry dates, they deserve to be punished. You cannot allow this to happen.”

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) is also very strict about it and they conduct audits very frequently and if they catch any violators, there are harsh punishments.

They also put hefty punishment to the hospitals and medical centres which are found with expired medications. The audits have been happening for quite some time, this is nothing new.”

Dr Raghavan also spoke about dangers of using expired materials, including medicine. “Expired materials may have some side effects because the efficacy period of the medicine is over.

It’s the same as having food that is expired, you cook and eat it, God knows what will happen to you. These are basic ethics that every hospital and medical centre need to ensure.”

The General Authority for Consumer Protection stresses the importance of providers’ compliance with regulations and laws, and the observance of health and safety requirements.

The PACP also calls for the need to cooperate in reporting such practices in order to guarantee a safe and secure market.

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