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Which are four 'substandard' Indian cough syrups linked to child deaths in Gambia?

The WHO has issued a medical product alert for four contaminated medicines identified in the West African country that has been potentially linked to acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children.

Which are four 'substandard' Indian cough syrups linked to child deaths in Gambia?

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (October 5, 2022) said the deaths of dozens of young children in the Gambia from acute kidney injuries may be linked to contaminated cough and cold syrups made by an Indian drug manufacturer. The global health body also issued a medical product alert for four contaminated medicines identified in the West African country that has been potentially linked to acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children. The four medicines are cough and cold syrups produced by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited, which launched its operations in 1990. It reportedly has an annual production capacity of 2.2 million syrup bottles, 600 million capsules, 18 million injections, 300,000 ointment tubes and 1.2 billion tablets.

"While the contaminated products have so far only been detected in the Gambia, they may have been distributed to other countries," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing.

He added that the WHO is conducting further investigation with the company and regulatory authorities in India. 

"WHO recommends all countries detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients," Tedros said.

Which are four Indian cough syrups linked to child deaths in Gambia?

The WHO said that the four "substandard" products are -- Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup. 

Substandard, also called "out of specification", are authorized medical products that fail to meet either their quality standards or specifications, or both.

"Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants. To date, these four products have been identified in the Gambia, but may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions," the UN agency said.

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