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Expiry dates of old medicines fudged at Mumbai airport's Terminal 2

mid-day has found that dates behind some antiseptic solutions had either been modified, or scribbled over to hide the fact that they were past the expiry dates; other drugs had crossed expiry dates

It appears airport authorities at the swanky Terminal 2 are stocking old medicines. An airport official showed this correspondent pictures of medicines, on whose label someone had either overwritten the dates with a pen, or scratched off the dates altogether.

At the medical room in T2, expiry dates of medicines had either been modified or completely scratched off
At the medical room in T2, expiry dates of medicines had either been modified or completely scratched off

In the pictures is a bottle of betadine solution, on which both manufacturing and expiry date have been scraped off. Betadine is used as an antiseptic. On another bottle of an antiseptic solution, the expiry date was found to have been changed to “11/14” with a pen.

Expired medicines in the medical room at the domestic Terminal 1
Expired medicines in the medical room at the domestic Terminal 1

The situation even at the domestic terminal is the same expired medicines continue to be stored at the medical inspection (MI) rooms, including cyclopam (for stomach pain) and Calpol syrup (used to treat fever in children). There are two MI rooms at T2 (one each in arrivals and departure) and one at the domestic terminal 1B.

Apathy terminal
The airport official said, “Medicines are ordered on a random basis; orders are placed when the stock of a particular medicine is over. There is no fixed day on which drugs are inspected for their dates of usage.”

Another official chimed in, “There are times when the paramedics write an order of two strips of a particular drug. But, they end up getting only 5 tablets to the MI room. Many a times, passengers are turned back because the medicines are not available.”

He further added that the medical team had repeatedly requested for the stock to be replenished, especially phenytoin vials – used to treat convulsions – and a shortage of which forced the doctors to wait till the patient gained consciousness to treat him.

According to Dr Pradip Shah, a consulting doctor at Fortis Hospital in Mulund, “Phenytoin vials are injected to a patient undergoing convulsions, since he cannot be given a tablet. Convulsion is a medical condition that cannot be taken lightly.

Repeated convulsion damages the brain, hence patients are injected with phenytoin so she doesn’t face the condition again. Phenytoin is necessary in this case and the medical expert simply cannot wait until the patient is conscious again, in order to register medication.”

The other side
The official spokesperson of Mumbai International Airport Limited said, “Medicines are checked for their expiry date at multiple times; first is on their receipt from vendor, second at the time of distribution to the medical centre, then every day by the on-duty staff, and again before giving it to the patient.

Stocks are ordered from various reputed vendors through our procurement department (current stock ordered from Apollo Pharmacy). We order major stocks every 3-4 months and smaller stocks more frequently as and when required.”

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