Toxic Paracetamol: Suspended official doing job, High Court seeks explanation | The Daily Star
08:54 PM, October 17, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:11 PM, October 17, 2017

Toxic Paracetamol: Suspended official doing job, HC seeks explanation

The High Court today sought an explanation from the government on how an official is still doing job at the Drug Administration Department despite being suspended in a case filed for negligence in manufacturing toxic Paracetamol that killed 28 children in 2009.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has been asked to provide the explanation in seven days about its Assistant Director Shafiqul Islam still holding his position.

The HC bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan passed the order following a petition moved by Advocate Manzill Murshid on behalf of the organization Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.

During hearing, Manzill Murshid told the court that the government suspended two officials of Drug Administration including Shafiqul Islam in August in line with a HC order for their negligence and inefficiency in dealing with the case filed for manufacturing toxic Paracetamol that killed 28 children in 2009.

Shafiqul applied to the Administration Appellate Tribunal-1 for staying his suspension suppressing the information of HC directive. The tribunal stayed his suspension and then he joined the office, he said. 

Following his arguments, the HC yesterday halted the tribunal’s order, issued restriction on Shafiqul’s doing job and fixed October 26 for passing further order on this issue.

From June to August in 2009, at least 28 children across the country died of renal failure allegedly caused by Rid Pharma's paracetamol syrups and suspensions.

On July 22 same year, the DGDA sealed off Rid's factory in BSCIC area of Brahmanbaria district following wide media coverage of the children's deaths, and the finding of Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital Physician Prof Mohammad Hanif which said Rid Pharma's Temset had toxic substance in it.

In August of 2009, Shafiqul Islam, the then superintendent of drug administration, filed a case with the Dhaka Drug Court accusing five Rid Pharmaceuticals Ltd officials.

The Dhaka court on November 28 last year acquitted all the five accused saying the prosecution utterly failed to prove the charge against them.

Two officials of the drug administration--- Shafiqul Islam and Altaf Hossain 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.

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