Six BCI Pharma’s directors, managers jailed for ten years

BCl-Pharma-jailSix BCI Pharmaceuticals — three directors and three managers — have been awarded ten years in prison for producing and marketing spurious paracetamol syrups.

The case against them was filed in 1992.

On Monday, Drug court judge M Ataur Rahman announced the verdict of the 23-year old case.

Rahman said the six will get ten years in prison and will have to pay a fine of Tk 200,000 each, failing which they will get another six months in jail.

BCI Directors Shahjahan Sarker, Shamsul Haque, Nurunnahar, Production Manager Tajul Haque, Quality Control Manager Ayesha Khatun and Executive Director ASM Badruddoza were handed down the sentence.

Of them, only Sarker, who was out on bail was present during the court order. The others have been absconding since proceedings resumed on the case.

Case details indicate that spurious paracetamol syrup led to a large number of children being admitted to hospitals in between 1989 and 1992. Of them, at least 76 died.

Tests showed the BCI product Paracitone had poisonous Di-Ethylene Glycol along with products of four other firms.

The case was filed on Nov 30, 1992 by then drug superintendent Abul Khayer Chowdhury against six officials of the company.

Charges against the accused were placed on January 2, 1993 and they were indicted on August 2, 1994.

But the case was subsequently stalled until 2011 following a defence petition filed with the High Court.

The court on February 20, 2011 ordered to start trial in the case.

Public Prosecutor Mohammad Nadim Miya said the court gave its verdict after hearing three witnesses.

Sarkar’s counsel Khandker Bashir Ahmed said the 10-year term and fine was the highest penalty allowed by the law.

The drug court had sentenced three including Adflame Pharma’s owner and manager to 10 years in prison last year for producing spurious paracetamol.

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