WHO on alert for four cough syrups: 66 children dead in Gambia

WHO on alert for four cough syrups: 66 children dead in Gambia

Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Medicines may have also been distributed in other countries”. The Indian pharmaceutical company is Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert for four cough and cold syrups: according to director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, they could have caused the death of 66 children in the African state of Gambia.

The drugs in question are called: Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup and are manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited.

WHO however pointed out that India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization indicated that the manufacturer should have supplied the contaminated drugs only to the Gambia, AFP news agency reports, citing an email from the UN health agency.

Ghebreyesus himself specified that “contaminated products have so far only been detected in Gambia but may have been distributed to other countries. WHO recommends all countries to detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients”.

“The WHO is conducting further investigations with the company and the regulatory authorities in India,” the WHO direct announced in a press briefing, struck by the “loss of these young lives”.

The alarm went off yesterday, 5 October, after the analyzes carried out on the syrups, launched following a series of suspected deaths of minors in Gambia in the past months. According to the WHO, the medicines contain “unacceptable quantities” of diethylene and ethylene glycol, toxic organic compounds, which if ingested would cause acute kidney injury.

Their effects “may include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to urinate, headache, altered mental status and acute kidney injury that can lead to death,” Ghebreyesus added.