The High Court on Thursday ordered the authorities to pay Tk15 lakh compensation to each family of 104 children who died after taking toxic paracetamol syrup.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration will have to pay the compensation after realising the fine from the drugmakers, according to the court order.
In 1991, 76 children died after taking adulterated paracetamol, while another paracetamol scam in 2009 killed 28 kids.
In 2010, lawyer Manzil Murshid filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking legal remedy of those incidents. The High Court on Thursday came up with the order responding to the writ.
However, it could not be known immediately whether the drug directorate will appeal against the court ruling.
At least 28 children died after consuming paracetamol syrup in different hospitals in 2009. The syrups were reportedly manufactured by Reed Pharma.
Subsequently, the drug directorate filed a case against the pharmaceutical company. But samples of paracetamol syrup that were submitted to the court during the investigation were not seized from the Reed Pharma factory. Therefore, it was not possible to prove that the seized paracetamol was produced by Reed Pharma.
As a result, the accused were acquitted, said lawyers. The state appealed to the High Court against the lower court's verdict and it has not been settled yet.
In the meanwhile, lawyer Manzil Murshid also filed a writ petition seeking legal remedy.
The lawyer said the accused were acquitted due to incompetence of drug directorate officials, and this was mentioned in the lower court judgment. The court also noted that the officials did not look into the matter properly.
"Acquittal of the accused does not mean that they had no liability. They were acquitted due to negligence in the investigation," he added.