Home / News / World /  WHO issues alert for 4 India-made cough syrup. Check symptoms, other details

World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert Wednesday over four cough and cold syrups made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals in India. It notified that the same could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia.

"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. 

Regarding symptoms, experts are of the opinion that the medicine could have caused a spike in cases of acute kidney injury. Most affected are the children under the age of five was detected in late July.

The Gambian government last week reported a sudden spike in acute kidney injury. 

The symptoms include - 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.

"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.

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

Tedros urged caution, calling on all countries to work to "detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients."

The Gambian health ministry's advice on syrup paracetamol was issued on September 9, a month after investigators reported the death of at least 28 children aged five months to four years from acute renal failure.

The investigation had been opened on July 19. No details were given as to when the children died.

WHO said that information received from India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation indicated that the manufacturer had only supplied the contaminated medications to The Gambia.

"However, the supply of these products through informal or unregulated markets to other countries in Africa, cannot be ruled out," the UN agency said in an email.

"In addition, the manufacturer may have used the same contaminated material in other products and distributed them locally or exported," it warned.


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