In response to a petition filed by Odisha-based human rights campaigner Akhand last month, the commission has ordered the principal secretary of the health ministry to file a report within four weeks, Akhand said.

On the basis of the report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, tabled in the state assembly last month, the petitioner alleged that 31 types of time-expired medicines were administered to patients in the state 2007-13.

According to the CAG report on the state's general and social sector for the year ended in March 2013, time-expired medicines valued at Rs74,000 were administered to patients in Cuttack, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Sundergarh districts during 2007 13.

The CAG report also said that during audit, it found that 19 essential drugs valued at Rs 14.84 lakh procured during 2008-09 were distributed to various rural medical institutions without any quality testing, and administered to rural patients.

Akhand said the use of time-expired and low-quality medicines may cause allergic or toxic reactions.

He had sought intervention of the NHRC saying that the state government was reluctant to probe the matter.

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