WHO warns against India-made cough syrups after Gambia deaths

Wednesday 12th October 2022 06:31 EDT

Geneva: The WHO (World Health Organisation) has issued a global alert over four cough syrups. The warning says that these syrups might be responsible for the deaths of 66 children in Gambia. They stated that syrups have been “potentially linked with acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children,” and warned that their use may result into serious injury or death.

The WHO also added that the products were manufactured by Indian company Maiden Pharmaceuticals. Indian officials have requested WHO officials to reveal proof showing a connection between the syrups and the deaths. The medicines were identified by WHO as: Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

The four products had been identified in the Gambia, but “may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions”, according to WHO.

Since then, the government of the Gambia has banned the consumption of all paracetamol syrups and is advising citizens to take pills instead. The WHO said that “laboratory analysis of samples of the products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants”.

They added that the substances are toxic and their effects “can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury, which may lead to death.” Speaking in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “The loss of these young lives is beyond comprehension and heart-breaking for their families.”

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