Reports: 73 dead from suspected tainted heart medicine in Pakistan

Story highlights

  • Many of the deaths occurred at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology
  • The factory that manufactured the drugs has been shut down
  • Patients had sudden drops in white blood cell counts and excessive bleeding
As many as 73 people have died after taking what officials suspect may have been tainted heart medicine in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, the doctor leading the investigation into the deaths told CNN Wednesday.
Dr. Javed Akram said more than 500 other people have been sickened by the medication, including 50 patients who are in critical condition now.
Sixty-five of the fatalities were reported at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, E Pakistan News reported Tuesday.
The government of Punjab province has sealed the pharmaceutical factory that is believed to have manufactured the medicine.
"The medicine may be contaminated with some heavy metal which created an adverse drug reaction," Akram said.
The medication was provided free of charge by the government-run Institute of Cardiology.
Akram said the patients taking the medicines were brought to hospitals with symptoms of a sudden drop in white blood cell and platelet levels and bleeding from different body parts.