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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Man dies after taking cancer medicine, chemist arrested

One of the medicines prescribed was Folimax 10, which is available in tablet form and generally used to prevent anemia due to a deficiency of folic acid

The owner of a medical store was arrested for mistakenly selling cancer medication to a 67-year-old man who died after consuming them last year. The chemist, Kalpesh Vyas, who operates Kalpesh Medical Stores on Daftary Road in Malad East, was arrested and released on bail after two days in police custody. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cancelled his licence to operate the store after finding he had not employed a licensed pharmacist, but officials also found that the deceased had not followed the instructions written in the prescription and his family did not have a bill of purchase for the medicines.
The deceased, Digambar Dhuri, worked at an imitation jewellery manufacturing unit in Malad and lived with his wife, five daughters and son. According to police, while having dinner with his friends at a restaurant in Malad on October 5, 2017, Dhuri knocked into a wooden table and suffered a gash on his leg.
His son, Mayur, who works in the administration department of a private firm, said his father’s friends took him to Asha Maternity and General Hospital in Malad to get the cut looked at. “At the hospital, doctors stitched up the cut and wrote a bunch of tablets he was to take on a prescription sheet. We ordered those medicines the same day from a nearby chemist,” said Mayur.
One of the medicines prescribed was Folimax 10, which is available in tablet form and generally used to prevent anemia due to a deficiency of folic acid. According to police, Dhuri was instructed by doctors to take one 5 mg tablet of Folimax 10 per week.
But Vyas allegedly gave Dhuri the tablet Folitrax 10 mg instead of Folimax 10. Folitrax is generally used in the treatment of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. The side effects of Methotrexate, the active compound in the medicine, include abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness and increased susceptibility to bacterial infections.
After just two weeks of consuming the medicine, Dhuri suffered a seizure at his home on October 18 and was rushed to Tunga Hospital in Malad, where he died. Doctors informed Dhuri’s family that he had died as a result of septic shock, severe neutropenia (a decrease in a type of white blood cells that ward off infections) and methotrexate toxicity.
In December 2017, Dhuri’s wife, Asha, wrote to the FDA seeking action against Kalpesh Medical Stores for its alleged culpability in her husband’s death. After going through Dhuri’s medical reports from both the maternity home and Tunga Hospital, the FDA also questioned Vyas. But during the inquiry, FDA investigators found that Dhuri’s family did not have a bill of purchase for the medicines and that Dhuri had not followed the instructions written in the prescription.
“Neither the deceased nor his family had checked whether the chemist supplied them the right medicines. The deceased had been taking two tablets of Folitrax 10 mg per day and also did not go to the maternity home for a follow up examination,” said FDA Inspector Dinesh Khivasra.
But after Vyas allegedly admitted to having mistakenly supplied the wrong medicine, the FDA cancelled his licence to run the store in January 2018, after also finding that he had not employed a licensed pharmacist. Vyas contested the order in March, petitioning FDA Minister Girish Bapat and managing to obtain a temporary stay on the FDA’s order cancelling his licence.
After the end of its inquiry last week found culpability on Vyas’ part, the FDA registered a complaint at Malad police station. But Khivasra said the chemist had delivered the wrong medicine unintentionally. Vyas has been booked with causing death due to negligence under the Indian Penal Code and under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
When contacted, Vyas said, “I have been running this store for fifty years, but nothing like this has ever happened before. I have all proof and documents with me and will fight this case in court. I am expecting to hear from the minister in a few days.”
Mayur Dhuri (31), who is also eagerly awaiting the minister’s decision, said his father’s death has left him the only earning member of his family. “Four of my sisters are married. It is up to me now to get my other sister married. One prospective suitor cancelled the wedding at the last moment due to this trouble. All we did was to trust our chemist. We never imagined that he would give us the wrong medicine,” he said.