House panel seeks life term for sale of sub-standard, date-expired drugs

Published On: April 10, 2017 06:00 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, April 9: A parliamentary panel has proposed revisions in the Drugs Act 2035 BS, proposing up to life imprisonment for pharmaceuticals owners if they are found manufacturing or selling sub-standard drugs or drugs that have exceeded  their shelf-life.

According to the proposed revisions, if any individual dies because of the use of a date-expired or adulterated drug, the manufacturer or  seller  of the drug may face five years to life in jail.

A sub-committee under the Legislative Committee of parliament has proposed increment in the punishment for such offences under the Some Nepal Acts Amendment, Integration and Adjustment and Annulment bill submitted to the full committee last week. The original bill unveiled by the government had proposed a sentence equal to that for murder for such offenders.

The bill has proposed a sentence equal to attempted murder against pharmacy or pharmaceuticals owners if the consumption of  drugs sold by them risks the life of patients. Likewise, the bill proposes 10 years in jail and up to Rs 100,000 in fine if the drug causes disability.

Such owners are not immune from punishment even if the drugs do not cause any serious harm to the health of the drug consumer. The bill proposes five years in jail and up to Rs 50,000 in fine to those selling date-expired medicines or manufacturing adulterated medicines.

Among other things, the bill proposes to punish those who sell under-weight  goods. Such unscrupulous businesspersons will face up to three years in jail and Rs 30,000 in fine.

Existing laws recognize all crimes that attract punishment above two years in jail as non-bailable crimes. The bill proposes including the tampering of measuring devices, encroachment of public lands, polluting sources of drinking water, illegal trading of pesticides and insecticides, misuse of passports, and causing road accidents through reckless driving as non-bailable crimes.

Proposing revisions to the Children's Act 2048 BS, the bill is to allow children to keep the surnames of both the father and mother or either one of them. 

Likewise, the bill makes it obligatory for a father to accept paternity if a child is born six months after marriage. Earlier, the law allowed a father to reject paternity if a child is born within 272 days after  marriage. “Sometime there is premature birth. Therefore, we have proposed to introduce this provision as the old provision is not practical,” said lawmaker Rewati Raman Bhandari.

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