NAYA | Marwa Dergham: A crucial contributor to the field of medicine

Since her early years in the Lebanese University, Dergham has been fascinated by the field of medical mistakes.
by Fatima Al Mahmoud and Tala Ramadan

21 August 2018 | 15:29

Source: by Annahar

This undated photo shows Marwa Dergham at a conference discussing her book. (HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanon never had an established law to determine who’s to be held responsible when it comes to a deficiency or fault in medicine and pharmaceutical products, or what the imposed liabilities on that person are. Marwa Dergham, a lawyer and a legal counsel, wanted to tackle this particular untouched topic.

In her latest publication, “The Civil Liability of the Drug Product for Hidden Defects in Medicines and Pharmaceuticals Products,” which was written for the purpose of shedding light on this specific matter, Dergham came up with a thorough research that was tailored to fit the pharmaceutical market in all its elements; the consumer, the producer, and the retailer, which is, in this case, the pharmacy.

Dergham was inspired to write a legal guide after finding out that the imposed liability that Lebanon already has on the manufacturer when something goes wrong, is too broad and general and does not fit pharmaceutical products, and thus the terminology is vague.

The publication is tailored to fit the Lebanese context.

One of the main points of Dergham’ publication is to ensure the rights of both, the purchaser and the manufacturer. Her work stands as a reference for the doctor and the pharmacy as well.

Dergham’s manual was influenced by the French law which stands as a support to people who were affected by the deficiency of a certain pharmaceutical product, and especially those who do not have enough information to back their stand with concrete information.

The roadmap that she offered in her publication was suggested to the newly elected parliament and will be studied thoroughly by MPs in order to start taking it as a reference.


Dergham’s publication is composed of a full research study put together for two main objectives: humanitarian and legislative. The medical sector is one that touches up on the human health directly; which is why Dergham believes that it’s a crucial topic to be addressed. In her book, she objectively clarifies the legal rights and duties of consumers, producers, manufacturers and distributors.

As such, the book can be used as a legislative introduction for Lebanese lawmakers to draft solid safety laws to doctrine the medical field. Simply put, her book helps explain the detailed legal procedure of who’s held accountable in the cases of medical error-inflicted illnesses.

Since her early years in the Lebanese University, Dergham has been fascinated by the field of medical mistakes, but she wanted a fresh angle for her Master’s thesis, which she found. “I wanted something that no one has spoken about yet,” Dergham told Annahar.

Completing her Master’s degree and applying for the Beirut Bar Association (BBA) all at once, Dergham published her book in two years, which was met with acclaim and support. The Lebanese Order of Physicians and the Order of Pharmacists were impressed by the publication and expressed their admiration with its high-end content, and the BBA supported her throughout the publishing process and rewarded her efforts with a huge book signing ceremony.


“People told me that I was going nowhere, they were trying to put me down,” recalled Dergham. “I challenged myself regardless.”

Choosing a topic that hasn’t been explored before means choosing a topic with very limited resources to build on, which hindered Dergham’s writing process. Rather than succumb to the hardships, she completed extensive research, referring to books, online journals, medical experts and endless resources to put together an informative and crucial book.

Her main concern was to steer away from inciting propaganda in her publication or touching on politics and corruption for fear of interferences in her writings, which defeats the purpose of an objective and reliable research study.


Dergham’s craving for challenges doesn’t end here. Publishing the book was only her first step and she’s currently going after more.

“I don’t want to have published a book to put it on a shelf,” she said, adding: “I wrote that book to reach a certain goal and I will.”

In the meantime, Dergham is following up on the legislative objective of her book. She’s working closely with Lebanese ministers and deputies in hopes of integrating her publication into the Lebanese legal system, who have been responsive in turn.


Dergham has dedicated her profession to battling Lebanon’s absence of legal culture. The prominent issues are dispersed across all fields, including drug abuse, the health sector and women’s rights, all of which are sectors subject to her activism.

She often tackles awareness as an eminent first step toward solving any occurrence, illustrated in the workshops and lectures she often presents and participates in.

“People always blame the government and those in charge,” expressed Dergham, “But they also have responsibilities toward themselves and their society.”

Along the lines of her profession and the changes she hopes to bring into the country, Dergham has plans for running in the upcoming Municipal Elections.

“People believe that a woman, especially a veiled woman, is a different category, or that she can’t be an achiever. It’s important that I proved them wrong,” she told Annahar


Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally

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