The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that tainted cough syrups produced in India may be responsible for the deaths of numerous children in the Gambia. The WHO reported that it was testing a number of medical syrups that were thought to be responsible for 66 youngsters in the small West African nation dying from acute renal damage.
On Wednesday, the agency issued a medical product alert requesting that products made by Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals be taken off the market. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the organisation was looking into the matter with the corporation and Indian regulators.
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A statement from Maiden Pharmaceuticals has been rejected. The general drug controller of India did not return calls or texts. An inquiry for comments was not answered by the Indian Ministry of Health. The WHO stated in its statement that although the goods may have been sold in other places through informal marketplaces, they had only been discovered in the Gambia.
“WHO has today issued a medical product alert for four contaminated medicines identified in #Gambia that have been potentially linked with acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children. The loss of these young lives is beyond heartbreaking for their families”-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) October 5, 2022
Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup are the four products covered by the alert. Laboratory testing revealed “unacceptable” concentrations of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which the WHO claimed can be hazardous and cause acute kidney impairment.
Medical professionals in the Gambia raised the alarm in July after dozens of young patients started developing kidney illnesses. Medical professionals were baffled by the deaths until a pattern became apparent: scores of children under the age of five were becoming unwell three to five days after swallowing paracetamol syrup.
Similar issues have been found in other syrups, according to the Director of Health Services for the Gambia, Mustapha Bittaye, although the ministry is awaiting test results. He claimed that the number of fatalities had decreased recently and that Maiden Pharmaceuticals’ goods were no longer for sale.
But he said, up until recently, some of the syrups were still offered for sale in hospitals and private clinics. Healthcare providers received a letter from the Gambia’s Medicines Control Agency on Tuesday directing them to stop selling any of the drugs identified by WHO.
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