Assets of Rid Pharma Officials Ordered Seized
Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A Dhaka court has ordered authorities to impound property of five Rid Pharmaceutical officials, including the managing director, who are accused of illegal production and marketing of a toxic paracetamol product linked to deaths of more than 20 children.

Judge Golam Mortuza Majumder of the Dhaka drug court on Wednesday asked police in Brahmanbaria, where Rid Pharma is based, to submit a report by Oct 14.

The court record keeper Rafikul Islam said the court had ordered property confiscation as the defendants were yet to be arrested.

The Directorate of Drug Administration on Aug 10 filed the case against the five for substandard preparation of a paracetamol syrup that was found to contain a toxic ingredient after the deaths of at least 25 children from renal failure. The court issued arrest warrants the next day.

The accused are Rid Pharma MD Mizanur Rahman, two directors Sheuli Rahman and Abdul Gani and pharmacists Mahbubul Islam and Enamul Haque.

Islam said Brahmanbaria Sadar Police Station sub-inspector Md Kamruzzaman had requested the court to inform the update of the case by halting the arrest warrant.

By law police cannot ask the court about the case, he said.

DA supervisor Md Shafiqul Islam filed the case for illegal preparation of a paracetamol syrup suspected of causing the deaths of causing kidney failure and deaths of at least 25 children since the start of June.

On July 21, the Drug Administration ordered Rid Pharma to halt manufacture and marketing of all its products, including the paracetamol preparation.

On July 29, health minister AFM Ruhal Haque announced that tests had confirmed the presence of the toxic chemical diethylene glycol in an illegal paracetamol syrup made by Rid Pharmaceutical Company that was suspected of killing at least 25 children in Bangladesh.

Diethylene glycol, normally used in the textile and leather dying industries, was allegedly used in the preparation as a cheap but deadly substitute for propylene glycol.

Rid Pharma initially denied producing the paracetamol syrup linked to children's deaths in media reports. Officials of the drug company were quoted in the press as saying Rid Pharma "does not produce paracetamol syrup, only suspension".

The health minister said on July 29 that although the product was described as a suspension on the package, it had in fact contained syrup.

According to the health ministry, only five domestic companies—out of more than 250 big and small drug makers in the country—have clearance to manufacture paracetamol syrup.

DA officials say the market is flooded with substandard drugs, while lawyers of the drug court say authorities, including the DA, is failing to take proper legal action against the culprits.


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