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The Cough Syrup that Killed 66 in Africa

The World Health Organization alerted on Wednesday that contaminated cough and cold syrups produced by an Indian medication manufacturer may be responsible for the kidney injuries that caused the deaths of sixty-six children in The Gambia. 


The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has launched a probe after the World Health Organization issued an alert against four India-made cold and cough syrups that have been "potentially linked" with acute kidney injuries. 


Four fever, cold, and cough syrups produced by an Indian company have prompted a World Health Organization (WHO) alert, which warns consumers not to use them. Magrip N Cold Syrup, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Promethazine Oral Solution are the four syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals, a company based in Haryana. 


"The Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four items reveals that pollutants such as diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are in prohibited concentrations. These four goods have so far only been found in the Gambia, but they may have traveled through unofficial markets to other nations or areas,” the WHO warned in the notice. 


According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an inquiry is being carried out by the UN agency, Indian regulators, and medicine manufacturer Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd., in New Delhi. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), India's top drug regulatory body, started investigating the problem after being aware of it on September 29. 


According to the Haryana state regulatory agency, the company manufactured and exported syrups to the Gambia. However, only Gambia has purchased the product thus far from the business. 


According to sources, the WHO identified diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol contamination in four of the 23 samples. However, the internal government agency has not given India any information regarding the death's causative relationship or any documentation demonstrating that the syrups were to blame for the fatalities. 

The initial inquiry has established that M/s Maiden Pharmaceutical Limited was a manufacturer of the items in question, licensed by the State Drug Controller, and possessing a manufacturing permit. According to the statement, the company had solely produced and exported these goods to the Gambia. 


The WHO director stated that although the tainted products have only been found in The Gambia, they may have been exported to other nations. To stop people from suffering further harm, the WHO has advised all governments to identify and halt the distribution of these items. 


WHO Medical Product Alert said four defective items were found in the Gambia and reported to WHO in September 2022. The WHO alert stated that the dangerous goods mentioned in the alert "may cause severe harm or death, primarily when used by youngsters."

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