Committee Formed On 24 Children's Deaths
Thursday, 23 July 2009

The parliamentary standing committee on the health ministry on Thursday formed a four-member committee to look into the recent deaths of 24 children from kidney failure after reportedly taking a children's paracetamol product.

The product under suspicion is made by the Rid Pharmaceutical Company.

The committee formed to visit the pharmaceutical factories across the country is headed by MP Nazmul Hassan, parliamentary committee chairman Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim told reporters after a meeting.

Hassan is also managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals and adviser to the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries.

There will be three experts on the committee, who will examine the quality of the factories and submit a report in three months, Karim said.

The parliamentary committee recommended installation of a modern laboratory to test drugs. There are now two laboratories in Dhaka and Chittagong but they lack modern technology.

Health minister Ruhal Haque attended the meeting.

Children's deaths

Dhaka Shishu (Children's) Hospital has seen 19 deaths due to renal failure in the last one and a half months, according to newspaper reports.

The hospital authorities have said that a total of 26 child patients with renal failure have been admitted to the hospital since the start of June. The unusually high figure reportedly led one doctor to test a suspicious drug product at a private laboratory.

Five renal failure deaths at BSMMU Hospital have also forced it to form a three-member committee to investigate the issue.

The Drug Administration on Wednesday ordered the Rid Pharmaceutical Company in Brahmanbaria to suspend manufacture and marketing of their products including vitamin and paracetamol suspensions for children, and to publish an announcement in three daily newspapers.

Drug Administration officials also visited the factory site and took samples for testing.

The government has also said a separate seven-member investigation body, formed earlier in the week, has already started collecting samples of Rid's vitamin and paracetamol suspensions from different areas of the country.

If nothing harmful is found in the products, the company could resume production again, said officials.


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