Kigali High Court orders fresh medical examination in drug case

Monday January 2 2017

La Croix du Sud Hospital. PHOTO | FILE

La Croix du Sud Hospital. PHOTO | FILE 

By Moses K Gahigi

The Kigali High Court has ordered a fresh medical examination into the current condition of the flawed drug victims to be used in their appeal against the first ruling which they say was unreasonable.

The plaintiffs who suffered major side effects after being administered with a flawed anaesthetic lidocaine, at La Croix du Sud Hospital, appealed the ruling by the Nyarugenge Court which gave them Rwf33 million as compensation, a fraction of close to Rwf1billion which they had asked for in compensation.

In the appeal, which was heard on December 22, the court recommended the victims go to recognised hospitals for expert examinations about the extent of damage the faulty drug caused them, something all parties agreed to.

“The courts are beginning to understand our case and our plight, the medical report done by experts will highlight our problem better, we also want this to happen” said Deus Rugigana, the representative of the plaintiffs, who also suffered adverse side effects after a circumcision procedure.

The plaintiffs are still demanding for Rwf33 million in compensation. The court demanded the complainants to draw a distinction between the compensation for the damage, stress and pain the drug side subjected the victims to at the time and the actual damage that they still suffer today and that may come in the future as a result of the toxins.

In the first ruling, Abacus Pharma was ordered to pay Rwf33 million compensation, however they also appealed, and during the hearing the company pointed out errors in the earlier report done by the hospital regarding the drug that was recommended of the ministry of health, saying another report should be done facilitated by the faulty drug manufacturer.

However this did not sit well with the hospital lawyers, who said there is no way the report can be compiled by the bad drug manufacturer, the same person asking for a new report.

The first report was compiled after an examination of the drug by the government laboratory in Butare, after which the results were also sent to Belgium for further testing before the report was compiled.

In their appeal, the plaintiff also accused the hospital for negligence, the hospital did not help them, some were denied transfers and continued to be charged for the treatment of the side effects.

The victims still complain of numbness and palpitations around the region where the drug was injected and the areas where it metastasized.