The Control Yuan yesterday censured the Ministry of National Defense (MND) for commissioning Taiwan Veterans Pharmaceutical Co to produce antidotes for nerve agents without the necessary permits as required by the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法).
The Cabinet’s Veterans Affairs Committee, which oversees Taiwan Veterans Pharmaceutical Co, was also censured by the government watchdog in this case.
The antidotes for nerve agents were researched and created by the National Defense Medical Center and Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology between 1976 and 1979, while the patent was later transferred to the pharmaceutical corporation, the Control Yuan said.
Control Yuan members Huang Wu-tzu (黃武次) and Yin Jeo-chen (尹祚芊) found in their investigation that the ministry did not acquire a permit before it commissioned the institutions to produce the antidotes, which were supposed to be used as medical treatments for soldiers exposed to nerve agents.
“Although no single dose of the antidote was ever applied to the army, it does not mean that that the MND will not use it in the future,” Yin said.
Saying that a total of 405,466 doses of the antidote have been kept over the years in the same fashion as chemical equipment rather than medicines for human use, the Control Yuan members also charged the ministry for being negligent in preserving the antidotes.
Citing the documents presented to the Control Yuan by the ministry during the investigation, Yin said most doses of the antidote were past the expiration date except for a small amount of 14,579 doses that the Reserve Command and the Military Police Command purchased in 2008.
“As antidotes are an important type of medical supply for war preparedness, the MND should have the medicines in place. It deserves to be censured for being lax in this regard,” Yin said.