Monday, April 15, 2024

Trial Continues: Will Victims of Children’s Cough Syrup Deaths Receive Justice?

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By: Seringe ST Touray

The trial surrounding the tragic deaths of children in The Gambia due to tainted syrups resumed at the Banjul High Court on Tuesday. The AKI association, representing grieving families, is pursuing convictions, after overcoming delays in July and October attributed to the defendants’ non-attendance.

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In 2022, around 70 children under the age of 5 succumbed to kidney failure after consuming contaminated medicines, sparking a legal battle led by the AKI association against entities such as Maiden Pharmaceuticals, Atlantic Pharmaceuticals, the Medical Controls Agency, the Ministry of Health, and Attorney General Dawda A. Jallow.

Seeking justice, the plaintiffs aim for $230,000 per child in damages, along with an acknowledgment of the Medical Controls Agency’s regulatory lapse and recognition of the medicines’ role in these tragic deaths. At the same time, the Gambian government is considering legal action against the implicated Indian manufacturer.

Laboratory tests conducted by the World Health Organization revealed lethal substances in the medicines, prompting a widespread recall. Responding decisively, The Gambia government closed down Maiden Pharmaceuticals’ plant, with President Barrow committing to establishing a national laboratory dedicated to drug and food safety.

Back in January, the World Health Organization issued a call for immediate action to address tainted cough syrups linked to child fatalities not only in The Gambia but also in Indonesia and Uzbekistan. The severity of the situation underscores the global significance of swift and comprehensive measures to safeguard public health.

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