Drugs Law passed keeping provision for life-term

Purveyors of counterfeit medicines must be brought to book

Published : 08 Sep 2023 08:32 PM

In order to prevent use of antibiotics, and production and sale of adulterated drugs The Drugs and Cosmetics Bill 2023 was passed on Thursday in the parliament. Reportedly, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque moved the bill which was passed by voice vote amid the reaction of some opposition lawmakers as the draft law allowed life-term imprisonment for manufacturing adulterated drugs and hoarding medicines to create an artificial crisis.

We take medicines to save our lives, but in Bangladesh hundreds of thousands of people die every year taking counterfeit and substandard medicine. As no remarkable punitive actions have been taken so far against unauthorized drug manufacturers, country’s drug market has been saddled with substandard and fake medicines. Also, unauthorized selling of such medicines is jeopardizing public health across the country. 

Noticeably, over the last few years, the fake drug market in Bangladesh has grown at a faster rate. Although government, national drug regulators and the drug industry itself have been struggling for years to curb sales of fake and poorly prepared medicines, efforts to control this problem have seen no remarkable success. Also, the existing penalties for counterfeiting drugs are not sufficient to deter this extremely profitable but immoral practice. If urgent action is not initiated, the market of fake medicines will grow in an exponential rate and thousands of people will die and suffer unreported.


government must also 


adequate manpower and resources for 

monitoring the production of all types 

of drugs

Departmental apathy, reflected in lack of adequate regulations, shortage of manpower (drug inspectors) and lack of lab facilities to check purity of drugs are the main reasons for the growing spurious drug industry of the country. The reason of growing fake medicines market lies in the vicious nexus among manufactures, the authority in the system and the original drug distributing channel. In Bangladesh, people largely remain unaware of the danger of fake medicine as there is no official reporting from the part of the media and the government regarding its sale and consumption. This helps all but the victims reap benefits.

Taking all these into consideration, government needs to formulate an integrated strategy and form a high level taskforce involving the departments concerned to check the alarming growth of fake medicine across the country and act accordingly. A stronger state supervision of drug suppliers would be helpful to combat the practice of manufacturing fake drugs. All the stakeholders including the government and drug manufacturers should work in concert to control the menace of fake medicine. 

The government must also provide adequate manpower and resources for monitoring the production of all types of drugs. In order to give justice to victims, purveyors of counterfeit medicine must be held to account. Those who neglect people’s life for the sake of money must not be spared.