With the death of about 15 women who had gone for the mass sterilization program managed by a government-run camp in Chhattisgarh, and the hospitalization of several others, the compound zinc phosphide usually used for rat poisons has been found in most of the sterilization pills handed out to the women.

Health authorities were forced to take the prescription drugs for lab testing after some women that attended the sterilization camp and those that did not developed sickening problems after taking the drugs. And health authorities had to suspect that the drugs were the cause of the problem when zinc phosphide was found within the premises of Mahawar Pharmaceuticals – a family-run pharmaceutical company that the government is already investigating. The father and son who owns the pharmaceutical firm have already been arrested by the police, and they have denied any faults in the deaths.

According to the chief administrator of the Bilaspur district, Siddhartha Pardeshi, “but, this is what we anticipate. Symptoms shown by the patients also conform with zinc phospide (poisoning).” He made this known after samples of the suspected drugs were sent to lab facilities in Delhi and Kolkota.

About 200,000 tablets of Ciprocin 500 and other 4 million medications manufactured by Mahawar Pharmaceuticals have been seized even as more women arrive to complain of vomiting, dizziness, swelling, and sicknesses from neighboring towns, clutching medicine strips in their hands.

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