WHO issues alert on four cough syrups made by Indian firm after child deaths

WHO is conducting further investigations with the company and regulatory authorities in India.

GENEVA - The World Health Organisation on Wednesday said that four cough and cold syrups made by India’s Maiden Pharmaceuticals could be potentially linked with serious kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children in Gambia.

New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals declined to comment on the matter.

WHO issued a medical product alert for the four syrups and said it was conducting further investigation with the company and regulatory authorities in India.

Gambia’s government said last month it has also been investigating the deaths, as a spike in cases of acute kidney injury among children under the age of five was detected in late July.

“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.

“While the contaminated products have so far only been detected in the Gambia, they may have been distributed to other countries,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on Wednesday.

He added that WHO recommends all countries detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients.

The WHO also issued a medical product alert asking regulators to remove Maiden Pharma goods from the market.

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

The Straits Times understands that the affected four brands are not available in Singapore. REUTERS, AFP

Additional reporting by Amanda Lee in Singapore.

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