The report of the National Assembly’s Select Committee on Health has stated that the cause of the deaths of children who suffered from Acute Kidney Injuries (AKI) is still under scientific investigation, but also indicated that “Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is culpable and should be held accountable for exporting the contaminated medicines that was linked to the death of at least 70 children in The Gambia 2022.”
The investigation of AKI started in July 2022 with at least 32 cases and 28 deaths being reported.
In November, President Adama Barrow said the government would take measures to provide essential drugs to Gambians while regulations are reviewed as AKI was still under investigation.
However, the report that was tabled before legislators of the parliament yesterday revealed that “all importers of pharmaceutical products (wholesale and retail) into The Gambia are following MCA regulations”.
The report stated that the importers encounter difficulties within the MCA – the Medical Control Association’s operational shortcomings. “The MCA is confronted with inadequate human and institutional resources.”
The report recommends having Maiden Pharmaceuticals blacklisted with its products banned in The Gambia.
“Similarly,” it further recommends that “the Pharmacy Council Act should be amended to give clear and direct powers to the Pharmacy Council of The Gambia to regulate and impose sanctions without having to seek the approval of the Minister of Health.”
The report also recommends to have deceased families of the AKI compensated as well as the survivors with free medical attention until they fully recover.
The report recommends the establishment of a laboratory under the control of MCA, as it is the international best practice.
“A parallel/autonomous authority created now will generate conflicts of command with different priorities,” it states, adding:“Samples from MCA will be handled at the convenience of the lab authority which may result in delays. An independent national laboratory can be built in the future to support MCA with more advanced or confirmatory tests.”