HC orders charges against second-time offenders in drug adulteration

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-11-19 21:15:06 BdST

bdnews24

The High Court has ordered authorities to start cases against second-time offenders who preserve, market and sell adulterated or expired drugs under the Special Powers Act.

The bench of Justice AKM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice Kamrul Kader gave a verbal directive on Tuesday following a report filed by the Directorate General of Drug Administration.

At present, the punitive measures for selling adulterated or expired drugs are limited to seven days or one-month jail, Deputy Attorney General ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar told reporters after the court hearing.

There will be a provision for life term or even death sentence if a case is filed under the Special Powers Act, he added.

“Therefore, we want to warn those who commit such acts that they refrain from preserving or selling adulterated or expired drugs.”

Expired drugs worth Tk 3407.69 trillion have been destroyed over the past two months, according to the report by the directorate.

Deputy Attorney General Bashar presented the report ‘Stop sale of expired, fake and adulterated drugs’, focusing on the period from Aug 1 to Oct 31, which was prepared by the DGDA.

A mobile court inspected 13,593 pharmacies and collected Tk 17.4 million in fines from the offenders preserving fake and adulterated drugs, said the report. The mobile court also sealed two pharmacies.

File photo

File photo

Lawyer ABM Altar Hossain represented the petitioner while lawyer Kamruzzaman Kachi was the legal counsel for the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection. Lawyer Shah Manzurul Haque represented the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries. 

"We support this drive. We also want no fake drugs to be available in the market. There was one appeal to write the name of the medicine in Bangla. We showed that it was written. Only the expiry date is written in English," said Manzurul Haque.

"The court wants the drug's name written in Bangla on the strip, which at present is written in English. We'll discuss it with the factory owners and ensure that the court's wish is fulfilled completely. Already Bangla has been used in most cases. The medicines are exported too. We'll submit a complete report."

"The pharmaceutical companies use their medical representatives to influence the doctors by offering them advantages. The court ordered the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries to stop doing so. The court may issue an order or directive on the issue in future," the deputy attorney general said.

"The Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009 clearly bans the sale of expired and adulterated medicine like any other consumer products. The directorate will take necessary action on the issue," said Bashar.

The court asked the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection to conduct drives following the order and submit a report by Dec 12.

Also, the Association of Pharmaceutical Industries has been directed to print the date of manufacture and date of expiry, price, and other directions in both Bangla and English.

On June 28, the High Court issued a rule asking for withdrawal of all expired drugs from the market and destroying them following a writ petition.

It had also ordered the authorities to submit a report within a month after taking actions against those involved in supply, preservation and sale of expired drugs.

The health secretary, home secretary, industries secretary, law secretary, commerce secretary, director general of DGHS, director general of DGDA, director general of DNCRP, inspector general of police, president and secretary of BAPC had been asked to respond to the rule.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration submitted the report following the court directive.

Almost 94 percent of the pharmacies in Dhaka keep expired drugs, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection’s Deputy Director Manzur Mohammad Shahriar said in an event on May 10.

Justice Watch Foundation Executive Director Mahfuzur Rahman Milon filed the petition to the High Court on Jun 24.