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HomeNewsIndia tells Gambia it's probing 69 kids’ deaths linked to cough syrups

India tells Gambia it’s probing 69 kids’ deaths linked to cough syrups

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India on Thursday told The Gambia it was investigating the deaths of 69 children in the wake of a report that provisionally linked the fatalities to Indian-made cough and cold syrups. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar told his Gambian counterpart that the Central government was “seriously investigating” the deaths of 69 children in The Gambia.

In a tweet, S Jaishankar said, “In a telecon with Gambian FM Dr. Mamadou Tangara, conveyed our deepest condolences on the deaths of young children recently. Underlined that matter is being seriously investigated by appropriate authorities. We agreed to remain in touch.”

As the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert 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 Indian health authorities announced a production halt at domestic company Maiden Pharmaceuticals’s factory in Haryana’s Sonepat.

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.

“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.

According to the WHO, diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans and can prove fatal as their 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 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.

The deaths, the worst involving drugs made in India, are a blow to an industry whose exports more than doubled in the last decade to hit $24.5 billion in the fiscal year through March. Known as a “pharmacy of the world”, India supplies 45 per cent of all generic medicines to Africa.

(With agency inputs)

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