Availability of date-expired medicines in the country’s drugstores is “not unusual” and there is “no reason to be worried”, said Nazmul Hasan Papon, president of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, yesterday.
He claimed that only “top 20” pharmaceutical industries usually collect back expired drugs.
However, he could not confirm whether all the companies follow standard operating procedure to safely destroy expired medicines.
Papon was speaking to journalists at his residence in Dhaka’s Gulshan in response to the recent claim that “93 percent of pharmacies in Dhaka city keep expired medicines”.
Papon, however, did not dismiss the claim.
On Monday, Monjur Mohammad Shahriar, deputy director of Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, said they found expired medicines in 93 percent of the 200 pharmacies in the capital where it conducted drives for over six months.
Papon yesterday said medicines will be produced and will eventually expire. “And, we [companies] are bound to refund pharmacy owners regularly. So, there is no reason for them to sell expired medicines,” he said.
Papon claimed that of the total products, a drugstore can stock not more than five percent of expired medicines.
According to Directorate General of Drug Administration, pharmacy owners must check for expired medicines every week, maintain a list and keep those separate for drug companies to replace.
Also, standard operating procedure (SOP) must be maintained to destroy expired medicines, according to WHO.
Papon said, “You might assume we just throw them away. But there is a systematic process.”
“All good companies must have SOP. Others also know about it, but we don’t know whether they follow it.”