Group photo of victims families
By Landing Ceesay
Hon. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of the Gambia has granted the state’s motion for an extension of time to respond to the lawsuit filed by victims of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI).
During the court proceedings, Counsel Binga, representing the state, informed the court of their motion, filed on November 6, 2023, seeking additional time to prepare their response to the lawsuit.
Counsel Yasin Senghore, representing the AKI Victims, raised objections to the state’s motion. Counsel Senghore pointed out that the state had previously submitted a similar motion, which the court dismissed and imposed a cost on the state. Counsel Senghore also highlighted that the state had not yet paid the previously imposed cost to the AKI Victims.
In response to the issue of cost, Counsel Binga stated that they are awaiting a court order to release the necessary funds to fulfill their financial obligations to the AKI Victims.
Subsequently, Hon. Justice Jaiteh requested that Counsel Senghore allow the state more time to prepare their defense. The judge also encouraged both parties to engage in dialogue to resolve the matter amicably outside the courtroom.
The case has been adjourned, and the next hearing is scheduled for November 21, 2023.
Background of the case
On July 26, 2022, an occurrence of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) cases emerged among children in the Gambia. Subsequent investigations conducted in Ghana, France, and Switzerland detected the presence of Diethylene glycol (DEG) and Ethylene glycol (EG) in samples of medications. This discovery prompted the removal of numerous pediatric medicines from the market.
The affected products, all originating from Maiden Pharmaceutical Company, were promptly withdrawn from both the community and the market. The Ministry of Health confirmed that at least 70 children in the Gambia lost their lives due to the consumption of cough syrup produced by Maiden Pharmaceutical Company in India.
In response, 19 families of the AKI victims took legal action against several entities: Maiden Pharmaceutical Company Limited (1st defendant), Atlantic Pharmaceutical Company Limited (2nd defendant), Medicines Control Agency, the Gambia (3rd defendant), the Ministry of Health (4th defendant), and the Attorney General (5th defendant). These 19 families, representing the AKI victims, are seeking damages of 15 million dalasis per child from the defendants.