Forum Ruling: Diabetic to Get 1.5 lakh
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03 February 2011
By Rebecca Samervel
The Mumbai suburban consumer disputes redressal forum on Monday took a pharmaceuticals company to task for supplying sub–standard drugs" that could have endangered several lives. Wockhardt Ltd was ordered to pay Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to a victim, a Goregaon resident. The forum also directed the company to pay him Rs 15,000 towards cost of litigation and deposit Rs 1 lakh under the Consumer Welfare Fund.
The forum also lauded the complainant, Sharad Tambe, a diabetic, for filing the plaint. The opposite party (Wockhardt) has brought into circulation for sale, sub–standard quality of drug–Wosulin 50:50– and only because of the alertness shown by the complainant and prompt action taken by FDA (Food & Drugs Administration), ill–effects to such patients on a large scale could be thwarted, otherwise several lives could have been endangered," the forum observed.
When contacted, a spokesperson from Wockhardt said, Wockhardt has always strived for the best standards and believes that all our products conform to the best quality. However, the company will abide by the court’s decision in the interest of the consumers."
The case dates back to 2006, when Tambe, a chronic diabetic patient, was on insulin and used to be prescribed Wosulin 50:50, a popular medicine. On October 30, 2006, Tambe purchased his monthly quota of the drug from a chemist at Goregaon. But even after using the medicine, Tambe remained uncomfortable and routinely felt hungry, exhausted and restless. On November 2, 2006, after consuming a fresh batch of the drug, Tambe’s blood sugar level did not come under control. After going through a blood sugar test, the pathological report revealed that his sugar levels were very high.
Tambe observed vials of the drug and saw that it did not look whitish as usual but appeared watery. He brought this to the notice of the drug company and the chemist. They, however, did not doubt the purity of the drug.
When the symptoms persisted, Tambe’s diabetologist, who had prescribed the drug, advised him to stop its usage and stated that it appeared to be defective.
The FDA collected bottles of ‘Wosulin 50:50’ from different shops and submitted a report on their findings on January 2007, stating that the sample did not comply with standard requirements for that type of drug. Tambe filed a complaint in the forum in February 2007.
The drug company filed its defence denying the allegations. It took the stand that insulin has to be stored under a temperature between 2 and 8 degree Celsius, and that this cold chain should be maintained right from the factory level. The company submitted that Tambe had not stored the drug at the right temperature. It argued that Tambe’s symptoms could be caused by a variety of factors such as lack of dietary control, improper dose, excessive exertion, and so on.
The forum refuted it and held the drug company guilty of deficiency in service and adoption of unfair trade practice.