Sunday, July 21, 2024

Five Rid Pharma bosses indicted

Five top Rid Pharmaceuticals Ltd bosses were on Wednesday charged with manufacturing and marketing toxic Paracetamol syrup, which caused the deaths of at least 28 children in 2009.
The Dhaka drug court’s judge Mohammad Abdul Majid framed the charged rejecting the petitions filed by filed by Rid Pharma’s managing director Mizanur Rahman and his wife Sheuly Rahman, also a director of the company, from discharging them.
The court posted for April 11 the commencement of the formal trial of the case with recording deposition of prosecution witnesses.
It also asked the complainant, Md Shafiqul Islam, also the drug superintendent of the directorate general of drug administration, to appear in court on April 11 to give his deposition.
Mizanur and Sheuly, who were in the dock, claimed that they were innocent as the court read out the charges against them. They are on bail.
The three other accused — Rid Pharma’s director Abdul Ghani and pharmacists Mahbubul Islam and Enamul Haque — were indicted and the court ordered that they would be tried in their absence as they went into hiding immediately after the filing of the case on August 10, 2009.
The court framed the charges after deferring the hearing in the framing of charges six times on prayers made by Mizanur and Sheuly,
The directorate general of drug administration on August 10, 2009 sued the five executives of the company, accusing them of manufacturing and marketing paracetamol syrup, Temset, which contained toxic elements.
On July 22, 2009, the drug administration’s superintendent Abdul Khayer Chowdhury sealed off Rid Pharma’s factory at Nandanpur in Brahmanbaria.
Four more cases were filed against Rid Pharma in Brahmanbaria, Narayanganj, Comilla and Sylhet.
The drug authorities collected samples of Temset and had them analysed and laboratory tests confirmed the presence of toxic diethylene glycol in the syrup.
At least 28 children died of acute renal failure after being administered Temset between June and August 2009.
Most of them were from districts surrounding Brahmanbaria where the Rid Pharma’s factory is located and they were reportedly administered Temset, the toxic analgesic syrup, produced by the company.
The investigation found that the company used diethylene glycol, meant for tannery and rubber industries, instead of propylene glycol which is five times costlier. Diethylene glycol costs Tk 200 a litre and propylene glycol costs Tk 1,100.
Rid Pharma received its drug manufacturing licence in 2006 and started marketing 12 drugs.
The company also violated the Drugs (Control) Ordinance 1982 by manufacturing Paracetamol syrup as it had obtained permission for manufacturing Paracetamol suspension only, according to the charge sheet.
The health minister, AFM Ruhal Haque, on July 29 confirmed the presence of diethylene glycol in a batch of Temset syrup produced by Rid Pharma after receiving the report of the official committee investigating the latest spate of child deaths caused by the toxic medicine.
Analgesic syrup containing diethylene glycol caused kidney diseases in 339 children in 1991, and 76 of them died. The case filed in 1991 is still pending with the court.

 

Courtesy of New Age

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