According to results released by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the deaths of children in Gambia have been linked to cough syrups made in India.
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The World Health Organization stated on Wednesday that contaminated cough and cold syrups produced by an Indian drug manufacturer may be responsible for the acute kidney injuries that caused the deaths of hundreds of young children in the Gambia.
The results were revealed by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and came as a result of tests on multiple medical syrups suspected of being the cause of 66 child deaths in the small West African nation.
According to Tedros, the UN agency was launching an investigation alongside Indian regulators and the manufacturer of the syrups, Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. of New Delhi.
Maiden Pharma declined to comment, and the Drugs Controller General of India did not return calls or texts.
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The WHO requested that authorities take Maiden Pharma products out of circulation on medical products on Wednesday.
The WHO stated in its statement that although the drugs may have been sold in other places through informal marketplaces, they had only been discovered in Gambia.
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 Gambia raised the alarm in July after dozens of young patients started developing kidney illnesses. The fatalities baffled doctors before a pattern became apparent: dozens of children under five were becoming unwell three to five days after swallowing a paracetamol syrup that was readily available locally.
Mustapha Bittaye, the director of health services for the Gambia, stated that similar issues have been found in other syrups, but the ministry is still awaiting confirmation of the findings.
He claimed that the number of fatalities had decreased recently and that Maiden Pharmaceuticals’ goods were no longer for sale. He added that up until recently, some of the syrups were still being offered at hospitals and private clinics.
Health care 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.
According to its website, Maiden Pharmaceuticals produces pharmaceuticals at its facilities in India, sells them domestically, and exports them to nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.