WHO warns about cough syrups made in India after deaths in The Gambia

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that four cough syrups could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia, so a global alert was sent out about them.

It said that there was a “possible link” between the syrups and “acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children.”

The Indian business Maiden Pharmaceuticals was responsible for the production of these goods. According to the WHO, the business had not provided any assurances to the organization that the items were risk-free.

The company hasn’t said anything yet.

Maiden Pharmaceuticals has been asked to comment by the BBC.

The WHO named the medicines Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

The four products were found in The Gambia, but the WHO said that they “may have been sold in informal markets in other countries or regions.”

It warned that young children in particular posed the greatest risk of injury or perhaps death if they used them.

The WHO stepped in after medical officials in The Gambia, a popular tourist spot, noticed an increase in cases of acute kidney injury in children under the age of five in late July.

Since then, the Gambia’s government has told people to stop using paracetamol syrups and use tablets instead.

The WHO said that lab tests on samples of the products “confirm that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.”

The substances were poisonous, and their effects “can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, not being able to pass urine, headache, a change in mental state, and sudden kidney damage that could kill,” the report said.

Last month, health officials in The Gambia said that dozens of children had died, but they didn’t say how many.

Wednesday in Geneva, Tedros Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, said, “The loss of these young lives is so heartbreaking for their families that I can’t even find the words.”

According to an email received by AFP from the United Nations’ health office, the WHO said that India’s Central Pharmaceuticals Standard Control Organisation reported that the manufacturer may have only sent tainted drugs to The Gambia. AFP cites this information from the WHO.

But the WHO said that “global exposure” was possible because “the manufacturer may have used the same contaminated material in other products and sold them locally or exported them.”

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