7 Oct 2022

Deaths of Children in Gambia: India Launches Probe into Cough Syrups Made in Haryana after WHO Alert

New Delhi: The government has launched a probe into four cough syrups manufactured by a Haryana-based pharmaceutical firm after the World Health Organization (WHO) said that they could be responsible for the deaths of 66 children in West African country Gambia.

Sources in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have revealed that on September 29 the WHO had alerted the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) about the cough syrups.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has taken up the matter with the Haryana regulatory authority and begun a thorough investigation, the sources said. A raid was also conducted on the firm's premises in Haryana. The cough syrups have been manufactured by M/s Maiden Pharmaceutical Limited in Haryana's Sonepat.

Samples will be tested: Samples of the four cough syrups will now be tested in central and regional laboratories and results will come in within two days.

Meanwhile, in Gambia, an urgent door-to-door drive has been launched to remove the syrups from each house. 

The WHO has alerted that the syrups may have been sent outside Gambia and a global exposure could not be ruled out.

WHO cautions people: The WHO has cautioned people against using the four syrups — Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup – manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals. It said all batches of the products should be considered unsafe till they are tested by the respective national regulatory authorities.

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