HC summons Health Secretary over toxic paracetamol episode

HC summons Health Secretary over toxic paracetamol episode

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Dhaka – The High Court on Monday summoned health secretary to explain his position over the present status of taking action against two officials of the drug administration for negligence in dealing with a case filed for manufacturing toxic paracetamol syrup that killed at least 28 children in 2009.In response to the petition, the HC bench comprising Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan asked the health secretary Sirajul Haque Khan to appear before it on August 23 to explain his position over the matter.
The officials are Assistant Director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration Shafiqul Islam and its Deputy Director Altaf Hossain.
Advocate Manzill Murshid filed the petition on behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), following a report submitted by health secretary before the court without taking action against two drug officials.
The health secretary recently submitted a probe report to the HC as per its earlier order stating that Shafiqul and Altaf were negligent, incompetent and inefficient in filing and dealing with the case.
In the latest development, the health secretary in another report submitted to the HC through the attorney general’s office stated that the government has cautioned Shafiqul Islam and Altaf Hossain for their negligence in dealing with the case.
Advocate Manzill Murshid in a supplementary petition told the court that although the drug officials had negligence in dealing with the case filed for manufacturing toxic paracetamol syrup that killed the children, but the health secretary did not take any action against them. After hearing on the petition, the HC bench yesterday came up with the order.
From June to August in 2009, at least 28 children across the country died of renal failures allegedly caused by Rid Pharma’s paracetamol syrups and suspensions.
In August that year, Shafiqul Islam, the then superintendent of drug administration, filed the case with the Dhaka Drug Court.
On November 28 last year, the drug court acquitted Rid Pharma’s all five officials.
Two officials of the drug administration involved in the case knowingly violated due procedure of law, and exhibited sheer negligence, inefficiency and incompetence in dealing with the case, the verdict said.
Shafiqul Islam and Altaf Hossain were drug superintendents in 2009. – Staff Reporter

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