Highlights

  • WHO issued an alert over cough syrups made in India
  • Syrups manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals
  • Deaths of 66 children potentially linked to the medicine: WHO

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Explained: why WHO issued alert against 4 Indian cough syrups

4 Indian cough syrups, Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup, are under investigation by the World Health Organisation after 66 children died in the Gambia. 

4 Indian cough syrups, Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup, are under investigation by the World Health Organisation after 66 children died in the Gambia.

The cough medicines manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals in India have been potentially linked to actue kidney injuries.

According to the medical product alert issued by World Health Organisation (WHO), laboratory analysis of samples of the products "confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants."

The alert warned that those substances are toxic to humans and can be fatal, adding that the toxic effect "can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death."

According to the WHO, Maiden Pharma has not provided guarantees to them on the safety and quality of these products till date.

The Gambia's health ministry asked hospitals on September 9 to stop using a syrup paracetamol, a month after investigators reported the death of at least 28 children aged five months to four years from acute renal failure.

The investigation had been opened on July 19. No details were given as to when the children died.

Also watch: Indian cough syrup under scanner after 66 children die in Gambia: WHO

WHO said that information received from India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation indicated that the manufacturer had only supplied the contaminated medications to The Gambia.

However, the UN health agency warned of a global exposure as the medicines could have reached other countries through unregulated markets.

WHO’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged caution, calling on all countries to work to "detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients."

(with AFP inputs)

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