Home/ News / 'Do not use them': WHO probing Indian cough syrups after 66 kids die in Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday issued a warning over four cough and cold syrups made by an Indian company, saying that they could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia. The WHO said that the cough and cold syrups, made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals in Haryana, could be the reason for serious kidney injuries. “Please do not use them," the WHO said in its advisory.

The four cough and cold syrups that have been linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup. In a release, the WHO has said that the Indian company has not yet provided guarantees on the safety and quality of these products.

"Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants," the WHO said in a medical product alert. The WHO also warned that while the products had so far been found in The Gambia, they could have been distributed to other countries.

According to the WHO, diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal. Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death, the WHO said.

New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals declined to comment on the matter.

The World Health Organization also said that it was conducting further investigation with the company and regulatory authorities in India regarding the cough syrup linked to deaths of 66 children.

Last month, Gambia's government said that it has also been investigating the deaths. The government statement came as a spike in cases of acute kidney injury among children under the age of five was detected in late July.

"While the contaminated products have so far only been detected in the Gambia they may have been distributed to other countries," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The WHO Director General added that WHO recommends all countries detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients.

Meanwhile, the DSCO has already taken up an urgent investigation into the matter with the regulatory authorities in Haryana.

"While all required steps will be taken, as a robust regulatory authority, WHO has been requested to share with CDSCO at the earliest the report on the establishment of a causal relation to the deaths with the medical products in question, photographs of labels/products, etc," sources told PTI.






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Updated: 06 Oct 2022, 09:24 AM IST
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