Egyptian pharmacist and assistant to face trial over fatal injections

Two young girls died in Alexandria after being given antibiotics without a mandatory allergy test

Pharmacists in Egypt are not allowed to administer injections or other medications without a doctor present. PA
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A pharmacist and her assistant in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria will face criminal trial over the deaths of two young girls within hours of being injected with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

The women administered the doses to Iman and Sajda, sisters from Alexandria’s Mina Al Basal district, a lower income neighbourhood, in early October. They have been in detention since then.

The public prosecution office said on Wednesday that it decided to put the women on trial after reviewing eyewitness accounts, several forensic reports, security camera footage and testimonies from both of the accused.

Investigators found that the pharmacist failed to conduct a required allergy test on the girls to determine whether it was safe to administer the antibiotic, the office said in a statement

According to an autopsy report, both girls were allergic to the antibiotic and died as result of severe complications they developed after receiving the drug, including a significant drop in blood pressure and eventual organ failure.

Under Egyptian law, pharmacists cannot administer medications without a doctor present, although in many poor areas it is quite common for patients to receive medical advice and medications from pharmacists.

The pharmacist’s assistant is accused of “inciting and assisting” her superior in injecting Iman and Sajda, according to the prosecution statement.

It said both women admitted in their testimonies that they were not licensed to administer the antibiotic and that they failed to give the girls an allergy test.

Investigators also found that the assistant did not have any training for her position and should not have been hired by the pharmacy.

The prosecutor's office said investigators found a number of other offences by the pharmacy and that it had been closed until further notice.

Updated: November 24, 2022, 11:07 AM