Child deaths in Gambia linked to cough syrups made in India, says WHO | CNN

The deaths of dozens of children in The Gambia due to severe kidney injuries may be linked to contaminated cough and cold syrup made by an Indian drug manufacturer, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The findings, announced by WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, followed several tests of a medicinal syrup suspected of killing 66 children in the small West African country.

Tedros told reporters that the UN agency is targeting Indian regulators and the syrup maker, New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Inquiring with.

Maiden Pharma declined to comment, while calls and messages to the Drugs Controller General of India went unanswered.

The WHO issued a medical product alert on Wednesday and asked regulators to remove Maiden Pharma products from the market.

The products may have been distributed elsewhere through informal markets, but had so far been identified only in The Gambia, the WHO said in its warning.

The alert includes four products: Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

Laboratory analysis confirmed “unacceptable” levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic and cause acute kidney injury, the WHO said.

Medical authorities in The Gambia raised the alarm in July after dozens of children began falling ill with kidney problems. The deaths puzzled doctors before a pattern emerged: dozens of patients aged less than three to five days fell ill after taking paracetamol syrup sold locally.

The Gambia’s director of health services, Mustafa Bitte, said similar problems had been detected in other syrups but the ministry was awaiting confirmation of the results.

He said the number of deaths had decreased in recent weeks and that the sale of products made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals had been banned. However, until recently, some syrups were being sold in private clinics and hospitals, he said.

Gambia’s Medicines Control Agency on Tuesday sent a letter to health professionals ordering them to stop selling any products listed by the WHO.

Maiden Pharmaceuticals manufactures drugs in its facilities IndiaWhich then sells domestically as well as exports to other countries AsiaAfrica and Latin America, according to its website.

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