Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malik yesterday announced that all expired medicines must be removed from pharmacies across the country by July 2.
“Stern measures will be taken against those who would be found selling expired medicines,” he said.
The minister came up with the remarks while addressing a press conference at his ministry.
Citing the government’s commitment to ensuring proper health services, Zahid said that they will not tolerate any malpractice which may pose risk to the health of people.
“It is our duty to ensure health services for the people of Bangladesh,” he added.
Besides, the minister urged the people to inform the ministry concerned or law enforcing agencies if they find any expired medicine at any of the 1,30,000 pharmacies throughout the country.
Expressing disappointment over the news that 93 percent pharmacies in the capital keep expired medicines, the minister said such an awful situation will not be tolerated.
Health Secretary Asadul Islam, Director General of Health Services Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control & Research Director Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora were present on the occasion, among others.
The drug producers and importers on Sunday declared to collect best-before-date expired medicines from pharmacies across the country and destroy those within July 2.
The announcement came at a meeting among the representatives of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI), Importers Association of Bangladesh (Drug section) and Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) held at the latter’s office.
Importers Association of Bangladesh and BAPI will submit a detailed report to DGDA after destroying the expired drugs.
Maj Gen Mahbubur Rahman, director general of DGDA, said in the last six months they took action against 404 Pharmacies across the country and fined a total of Tk 81.95 lakh.
They also seized medicines worth Tk 22.81 lakhs during this period, he added.
Earlier, a High Court bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader ordered the authorities to take legal action against those involved in storing, supplying and selling expired drugs within July 2.
During the meeting, members of Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Samity (BCDS), an association of pharmacy owners, pledged not to sell expired and unauthorised medicines in the future.
The association made a number of demands, including decentralising the process of issuing training certificates to the pharmacists and relaunching the training course for medicine sellers which was shut in September 2018.
They also appealed to take action against doctors who prescribe food supplements and unregistered medicine.