Wednesday, October 16, 2019

High Court orders government to seize, destroy expired medicines

  • Court Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-06-18 14:33:46 BdST


The High Court has ordered the government to confiscate and destroy expired medicines.

Justice Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader passed the orders giving the government a month to report after hearing a writ petition on Tuesday.

The court also directed the government to form a committee to identify sellers, suppliers, and hoarders of expired medicines.

ABM Altaf Hossain appeared for the writ petitioner.

A petition seeking the confiscation of expired medicines was submitted to the court on Monday following a report on drugs published in a newspaper, according to Deputy Attorney General ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar.

Monjur Mohammad Shahriar, deputy director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, at an event in Dhaka recently said it was found that about 93 percent of the pharmacies were selling expired medicines, after analysing a report of six months.

The court ordered Shahriar and the director general of his directorate to present information and evidence of his claim.

Along with the interim order, the court also issued a rule ordering government agencies to explain why their inaction to confiscate the expired medicines from the pharmacies should not be declared illegal, according to writ petitioner Mahfuzur Rahman Milon, a Supreme Court lawyer and executive director of the Justice Watch Foundation.

The health secretary, the home secretary, the law secretary, the commerce secretary, the industries secretary, the director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, the director general and deputy director of DNCRP, the inspector general of police, the president and general secretary of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries or BAPI are respondents to the rule.

In the wake of concerns over Monjur’s comments, BAPI President Nazmul Hasan said last Friday that they see “no reason to panic” at the news of drugs past their expiration dates being available in the market.

“We (industries) always replenish those with fresh batches or refund the money. So, there is no reason to sell those drugs to the public,” he said at a briefing, adding: “There is no reason to be worried.”

The BAPI president said drugs can expire in the stores and companies collect and destroy them following ‘standard operating procedure’ of the World Health Organization.

Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies produce most of drugs the country needs. They also export to many countries.

There are 230 licenced companies in Bangladesh, according to the BAPI president.