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India-made cough syrup linked to children’s death in Africa, WHO issues alert

India-made cough syrup linked to children’s death in Africa, WHO issues alert

By Sanjay Maurya

World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (October 5) issued an alert against the cough and cold syrup made by India-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, saying that it may be linked to the death of 66 children in the Gambia (a country in West Africa). The international health body reportedly said that cough and cold syrup contains components such as diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic to humans.

Maiden Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

  • Company size – 201-500 employees
  • Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
  • Founded – 1990
  • Specialties – Manufacturing, Exporters, Research & Development, and Pharmaceuticals

According to the medical product alert issued by WHO, the four products are Promethazine Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Oral Solution, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup. Reuters, citing WHO, said that further investigations are being conducted with the company and regulatory authorities. To date, these four products have been identified in The Gambia, but may be distributed in other countries or regions through informal markets,” WHO said in the alert.

In this case, the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the four products that were tested include cough and cold syrup made by Maiden Pharmaceutical Limited of India. The World Health Organization advises the detection and removal of such products to protect patients in all countries from further harm. “In addition, the manufacturer may use the same contaminated material in other products and distribute them locally or export them,” it warned.

“Global risk is therefore possible.”

Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol can cause toxic effects including vomiting, diarrhea, headache, stomach pain, inability to urinate, altered mental status (AMS), and acute kidney injury, which can lead to death. The WHO alert said, “The inferior products referred to in this alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, can cause serious injury or death.” Let us know that sixty children died in The Gambia last month in September. According to reports, after consuming cold and cough syrup, these children developed kidney problems. Since then, the government is investigating the causes of these deaths.

In 2020, Jammu and Kashmir in India reported the deaths of 17 children who consumed another brand of cough syrup contaminated with the same diethylene glycol. In another incident, at least 3 children died in the national capital last year after consuming a cough syrup with dextromethorphan, one of the components present in one of the four syrups flagged by WHO.

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