The High Court on Thursday suggested that the concerned government authorities open a hotline number so as to get information about expired medicines as soon as possible.
The target is to decrease the number of expired medicines in the market. Anyone who sees medicine in the market that has exceeded its expiry date, printed on its packet, he/ she can immediately inform the authorities through the hotline number, facilitating remedial measures.
The HC Bench, constituting Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader, made the suggestion in consequence of a writ petition; and set July 22 for the next hearing on the matter.
The High Court also ordered the concerned authorities to ensure that labels containing the expiry dates on packages of medicines are clearly visible and understandable.
Besides, the court advised the Ministry of Health to make people aware through media concerning expiry dates of medicines, and arrange a well-planned awareness programme in this regard.
The court advised users of medicines to have a careful look on the expiry date before purchasing any medicine, while dispatching an order to the pharmaceutical companies to write the expiry date in Bangla on the packages of medicines.
ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar, Deputy Attorney General, represented the state during the writ hearing; while Barrister Mahfuzur Rahman Milon, the writ petitioner, was also present.
On June 10, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), under Ministry of Finance, said that 93 percent pharmacies in the capital kept drugs with their expiry-date passed. The report was published in many newspapers the following day.
The findings were followed by the government’s Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) destroying expired medicines worth Tk 36.4 crore and fining various pharmacies around Tk1.05 crore during drives, conducted at different pharmaceutical shops all over the country.
Afterwards, on June 17, Mahfuzur Rahman Milon, Supreme Court lawyer, on behalf of Justice Watch Foundation, a non-profit-organisation for legal advisory, filed a writ petition with the High Court. The following day, the High Court ordered the government to take necessary actions to stop the sale of expired medicine, while destroying or withdrawing the expired medicine within 30 days.