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Govt panel holds its first meeting to probe WHO’s report on Gambian deaths


New Delhi: The four member committee which was formed by the union health ministry to look into the Maiden pharmaceuticals controversy held its first meeting and is of the view that the clinical features and the treatment received by the children as shared by World Health Organisation (WHO) so far are inadequate to determine the aetiology. 

The government panel held it first meeting to examine and analyze the details of the death of 66 children in Gambia after consuming contaminated cough syrups manufactured by Indian pharmaceutical firm. 

The Committee in its first meeting has examined the reports and communication received from the WHO and has made the following observations, an official said on Saturday. 

ALSO READ: Maiden Pharma cough syrup probe: DGCI updates WHO its findings. Read here

“Our investigation has progressed and the manufacturing site has been inspected, test report of sampled products from the laboratory is awaited and all the manufacturing activities of the manufacturer in question have been stopped,” said the official requesting anonymity. 

“The clinical features and the treatment received by the children as shared by WHO so far are inadequate to determine the aetiology. The details of initial illness, sign and symptoms duration of anuria in the cases, results of laboratory investigation conducted including various markers and parameters, specific investigation for DEG and EG on clinical samples of the patients, treatment before and after hospitalisation at the tertiary hospital in Gambia , the treatment received before and after AKI was suspected and reasons there the names and brands or the drug formulations used in the treatment before & altar hospitalization, their manufacturers their expiry and any other relevant information in each of the cases are necessary,” said the official. 

In case, verbal autopsy was conducted, a detailed report (including case and treatment history) of the same may be shared by WHO, said the official.

 “Similarly, in respect of the investigations carried out by the WHO so far, it requires more detailed information such as the number of stool samples collected and analyzed, the number of children with a similar clinical presentation to Acute kidney injury (AKI) from whom the biological samples were collected and details of the product samples collected and tested which were reported to be negative for EG and DEG,” added the official. 

The details of cases who received these products etc. are required to analyse the events and test method adopted for testing of samples, added the official. 

In a communication to WHO, the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) VG Somani has requested WHO to share the report on causal relations along with above details as observed by the technical committee at the earliest for further examination and follow up action at the government level.

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