July 23 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Government of The Gambia has announced the dismissal with immediate effect of the director and deputy director of the National Agency for the Control of Medicines in the midst of the scandal unleashed in the African country by the death of 70 children after taking contaminated cough syrup.
The deaths of the little ones occurred between July 2022 and January this year, allegedly after consuming the syrup produced by the Indian pharmaceutical company Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which caused “acute kidney damage” as the main reason for their death.
After the commission created by the country’s president, Adama Barrow, earlier this week anticipated the start of legal proceedings against the pharmaceutical company, the Gambian Health Minister, Ahmadou Samatheh, ended up reporting the dismissal of the head of the MCA, Markieu Janneh Kaira, and his number two for negligence.
“The Government is considering the possibility of opening a case against them for having ignored their official duty,” explained the minister at a press conference collected last Friday by the Gambiana news portal.
Specifically, the two managers have been fired after the presidential investigation commission verified that these syrups were never registered by the agency.
In the same appearance, the minister announced the hiring of a law firm that will review “all the country’s health legislation” to prevent tragedies like the one that has occurred in recent months from repeating themselves and initiate, if necessary, a firm judicial process with the Government as plaintiff.
The pharmaceutical denies all responsibility but tests carried out by the World Health Organization confirm that four varieties of cough syrups manufactured by Maiden contained “industrial solvents”.
In fact, up to five different reports, including one carried out by the United States Centers for Disease Control, point to the pharmaceutical company for the contamination of the syrups with two highly toxic substances such as diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol (EG).
Pending legal action from the Government, the families of the little ones have already denounced the Gambian Ministry of Health, the Indian pharmaceutical company and a second company, Atlantic Pharmaceuticals, a local distributor of the drug, in a case that will have its second court hearing in Banjul, the Gambian capital, in October.